In the Zone: The State of Orthopedics

Orthopedic industry revenue declined -10.6% in 2020 vs. 2019, dropping to $47 billion, according to our estimates at ORTHOWORLD. The COVID-19 pandemic created a remarkable year in which you and your companies, faced with plunging sales, pressed on by evolving your strategies and launching new products.

While the lingering pandemic means that most companies won’t return to normal in 2021, we’ve taken our annual State of the Industry issue to highlight trends that we identified in 2020 that will continue to drive growth in the coming years. Companies of all sizes are pursuing these themes, including the adoption of enabling technology, the shift of procedures to ASCs and merger and acquisition activity. We provide a high-level view of what is driving these key trends alongside recent activity and commentary from companies. Further, the number of U.S. FDA 510(k)s issued in 2020 was on par with 2019. We tracked 1,155 510(k)s over those two years, and our coverage details which segments and companies are receiving the most clearances.

COVID has brought profound disruption to orthopedics in many ways, but the output by companies remains impressive to watch.

In this issue, medtech veteran Keith Jackson argues that now is the best time to review your product pipeline and commercialization strategies to implement change. In providing tools on how to drive a culture of innovation, he writes, “There’s a phrase I’ve used a number of times, which is, ‘Just try it,’ rather than ‘Just do it.’ Just try it and then, when you have tried out new things, share the learning across the organization. What went well? What can we do better? How might we adapt or develop that idea, rather than kill it? A lot comes back to the way that leaders communicate. It involves encouraging people to better articulate their ideas and their thinking. Help them and support them to develop those ideas. Involve the originators to test their ideas out with some simple experimentation—your prototypes, trials, beta models, minimal viable products. Sound them out with customers, or even better with potential customers. Ultimately, share the learnings across the company so that you do not just get better ideas: you all get better at innovating.”

Orthopedics is at a juncture never experienced before. As industry looks forward, it will be important to remember all that was accomplished, all of the ways people and company innovated, in the face of adversity.

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