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Robotics & AI Make Inroads in HealthCare: Stocks to Benefit

Sreoshi Bera

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a significant part of everyday life, from online shopping to digital assistance like Siri and Alexa to diagnosis of life-threatening diseases. Harry Shum, the former vice-president of AI and research at Microsoft believes that "AI is already making decisions we don't understand.”

In fact, with the help of AI and robotics, heath care providers can save more lives and stop diseases that are currently undiagnosable or incurable. For instance, this combination can offer surgeons an artificial vision showing them real-time blood flow, enabling them to avoid tissue damage during surgeries.

Medical Robotics and Computer-Assisted Surgery

Robot-assisted surgery is not a new term and has been around for decades. But what brings this market back into the limelight is the recent developments in AI and sensing technologies. Given the way things are progressing, someday a surgeon will not even be present in the operation theater during a procedure and robotic-assisted surgical devices will do their job.

Though the amalgamation of medical science, AI and robotics looks like a concept straight out of science fiction movies, scientists are closely working on ways by which the potential of AI, global connectivity and technological advancements could make robotic surgery more accurate and accessible.

At present, robot-assisted surgeries only make up about 2% of all procedures and traditional minimally invasive surgeries account for 30% to 35%. Medtronic plc MDT estimates that the market for robotic-assisted surgery is $4 billion, which is already half the size of traditional minimally invasive surgery market.

Additionally, the global surgical robots marketis projected to reach $11.8 billion by 2025 from $6.7 billion in 2020 at a CAGR of 12.1%. The advancement of this market will be backed by technological advancements, advantages of robotic-assisted surgery, increasing adoption of surgical robots and increased funding for medical robot research.

AI in the medicine market is expected to witness CAGR of over 25% in the forecast period of 2020 to 2026, and is expected to reach $2.4 billion by 2026, from $837.2 million in 2019. What backs this advancement is proper and fast access to data, identification of patient symptoms and the communication of corresponding treatments through the increasing adoption of cloud computing techniques.

Further, if we move away from the operation theater, robotics and AI have been playing a crucial role during the novel coronavirus outbreak. These are being used in dispensing medication, and transporting items within hospitals. Thanks to the advancement in AI and robotics, at least potential exposure to infection could be limited in some cases.

An example worth mentioning is a platform designed by Rocos Global that enables developers and users to connect, monitor, and control fleets of robots which can inform and entertain people, move patients, and clean and disinfect areas. Additionally, robots designed by Pudu Technology are autonomously delivering meals in several hospitals in China.

5 Stocks to Buy

Given the progress that robotics and AI is making in the field of healthcare, we have shortlisted five stocks that are poised to grow. What’s more? These stocks carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.    

PTC Inc. PTC that operates as software and services company has established itself in the Healthcare Cognitive Computing industry. Its famed product ThingWorx, which comprises cloud-based tools to allow customers connect products and devices to the cloud, is among the many products used in the healthcare space.

This Zacks Rank #1 company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 44.5% compared with the Zacks Computer - Software industry’s projected earnings growth of 8.4%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for PTC’s current-year earnings has been revised 9.7% upward over the past 60 days.

Next, we have visual computing company, NVIDIA Corporation NVDA. This chip-maker is a developer of computer vision that utilizes algorithms for processing images with the aim of making faster and more accurate diagnoses.

NVIDIA’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 34.7% against the Zacks Semiconductor - General industry’s projected earnings decline of 5.1%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for this Zacks Rank #2 company’s current-year earnings has been revised 9.9% upward over the past 60 days.

Coming to robotics in healthcare, Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc. ZBH develops musculoskeletal healthcare products and solutions. The company is known for manufacturing orthopedic surgical robots.

Zimmer Biomet’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 5.7% compared with the Zacks Medical - Products industry’s projected earnings growth of 2.3%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for this Zacks Rank #2 company’s current-year earnings has been revised 0.2% upward over the past 60 days.

A prime player in themedical therapeutics market, Medtronic is known for its robotic-assisted surgery platform. It has been making further progress in the field through acquisition and of Digital Surgery, a company dealing with surgical AI, data and analytics, and digital education and training.

This Zacks Rank #2 company’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 8.1% compared with the Zacks Medical - Products industry’s projected earnings growth of 2.3%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Medtronic’s current-year earnings has been revised 0.7% upward over the past 60 days.

The last company on our list is Stryker Corporation SYK, a medical technology company dealing with surgical robots. Stryker’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 10.3% compared with the Zacks Medical - Products industry’s projected earnings growth of 2.3%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for this Zacks Rank #2 company’s current-year earnings has been revised 0.9% upward over the past 60 days.

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