The COVID-19 pandemic has left majority of the world at wits end, with several regions in the United States and Europe witnessing a recent spike in infections. Adoption of digital health amid this unprecedented global health threat has been massive to say the least.
The role played by digital health in this pandemic cannot be overstated as it has become a crucial component in the process of flattening the curve, limiting the spread of the virus and assisting in the treatment of infected individuals. As the medical community turned to digital health for support, adoption and implementation of telemedicine, remote patient monitoring, artificial intelligence (AI) and medical robots skyrocketed.
However, there is another offshoot of digital health that might not have received the same adulation during this crisis. Nevertheless, smart wearable devices play an important role in the fight against the coronavirus. Let us delve deeper and analyze the factors that can boost the prospects of this space amid the pandemic.
Role of Wearable Devices Amid the COVID-19 Crisis
The immense potential of wearables to detect COVID-19 symptoms in people wearing the same has gained popularity and caught the attention of several MedTech as well as tech companies and research centers.
Interestingly, according to a report by ReportLinker, the global wearable healthcare devices market is anticipated to see a CAGR of 20.5% and reach $46.6 billion during the forecast period (2020-2025). The need for remote healing and fitness amid the crisis scenario is the primary factor driving adoption of such devices.
The technological contributions have already proven vital in this fight against coronavirus. Case in point, in July, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority partnered with Sonica Health (Northwestern University spinout) to create a clinical-grade wearable for early detection of COVID-19 symptoms and other respiratory infections in high-risk clinical populations, which can ultimately help in reduction of transmission. This has provided additional impetus to the companies working toward bringing innovation with respect to wearable devices.
Wearable manufacturers started to create or adapt their products to help detect early signs of COVID-19. While some have developed algorithms, mostly customized to identify the early symptoms associated with the virus, others have made wearables that can continuously measure and interpret coughing and respiratory activity.
The scope of innovation and focus on creating more advanced and improved wearable devices has evolved significantly amid this crisis, thereby instilling optimism in investors as the space has the potential to offer bankable returns.
Stocks to Watch
Going by the aforementioned discussion, the investors might want to keep an eye on these stocks that have stepped up to provide support to the medical community during this crisis.
Garmin Ltd. GRMN designs, develops, manufactures, markets, and distributes a range of navigation, communication, and information devices worldwide. The company has entered into official partnership with the team of researchers at Duke University, which is leading the CovIdentify study to utilize wearables to collect data like heart rate and oxygen levels for the detection of early onset of COVID-19 symptoms. Over the past five years, the company’s earnings growth rate is 10.1%, compared with the industry’s 0.3%.
Shares of the Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company have gained 13.5%, compared with the industry’s decline of 3.5% in a year’s time. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 (Strong Buy) Rank stocks here.
Apple Inc.’s AAPL recently announced Apple Watch Series 6 has a new feature, which measures blood oxygen level — a vital sign with regard to detecting COVID-19. Pulse (or blood) oximeters, which have been around for a long time, have become crucial devices during this crisis. These small devices usually clip onto one’s finger and painlessly check blood to determine how well one’s lungs are working. In order to make things easier, Apple Watch Series 6 has built it directly into the smartwatch. Over the past five years, the company’s earnings growth rate is 10.7%, compared with the industry’s 1.4%.
Year to date, shares of this Zacks Rank #2 company have gained 51.9% compared with the industry’s rally of 48.9%.
Fitbit, Inc. FIT has made considerable strides when it comes to innovation during this pandemic. The Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company’s Fitbit Care Ready for Work solution can help employees make more informed decisions about returning to the workplace with a simple daily check-in that gives employees access to key health metrics from their Fitbit devices along with exposure, symptom, and temperature logging. Additionally, Fitbit has launched its own dedicated COVID-19 Study that users can sign up for from their Fitbit mobile app. The study will enable the company to understand if it can successfully develop an algorithm to accurately detect a COVID-19 infection before the onset of symptoms. Notably, for 2021, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for revenues is pegged at $1.30 billion, reflecting a rise of 7.6% from the previous year. The company’s strong fundamentals and the progress it has made with its product portfolio are adequate to instill investor optimism in the stock.
Over the past year, shares of the company have gained 63.4% compared with the industry’s rally of 7.6%.
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