Manufacturing: Serving Long COVID Patients & the Medical Device Industry
Manufacturing in the Medical Device Industry
Baby Boomers held the title as the largest adult population (now outnumbered by Millennials) and this significant demographic is aging thereby creating demand for medical devices that capture red flags, reduce invasive surgeries, and limit recovery periods. Beyond anticipated reliance on healthcare and medical device industries due to aging populations, the development of long COVID has now introduced a field for addressing a relatively unknown disability.
Long COVID continues to be unfamiliar territory. Patients describe fatigue, shortness of breath, depression, body aches, visual impairments and inability to move among a list of debilitating symptoms. Medical devices so far have been critical to saving COVID-19 patient lives, e.g. ventilators and heart monitors, but there remains the long term recovery and re-entry into daily life for patients who struggle with basic functions.
Medical experts are treating long COVID with a variety of strategies that include physical therapy, steroids, and blood pressure medications, but individual patient pre-COVID conditions and other factors limit the efficacy of certain therapies. While the world waits for a better understanding of long COVID, millions of families and individuals will suffer physical, emotional, psychological and economic losses.
So where do medical devices come into play with long COVID? Tragically, we may be looking at increased production of walkers, wheelchairs, home healthcare equipment, and devices that support blood and oxygen flow for young and middle-aged patients. The CDC estimates between 7 and 23 million Americans suffer from long COVID with another 1 million out of work because of the condition.
Manufacturers are the backbone of innovation and our preparation for changes is vital for global health and safety. As metal fabrication continues to grow, it looks ahead to serving millions of people who will depend on lifelong medical services and equipment. This new reality requires ongoing communication with our medical device partners and our industry’s general awareness of medical needs. In the end, while manufacturing may have limited scope in treating illnesses, we can stand with people who suffer from disabilities through our commitment to supplies that improve the quality of life.
By: Aimee Sukol, JD/MA/MS Ed.