Before COVID-19, the future looked bleak for the hospital clinical lab. The combination of outsourcing to commercial labs, underinvestment, PAMA cuts, worker shortages, and diminishing stature, had turned it into a non-strategic cost center.
But what we’ve learned from COVID-19 will change everything. The hospital lab will expand from supporting acute-care patients to supporting community-wide public health. And in vitro diagnostics (IVD) MedTech marketing will have to shift in response to shifting customer behavior. Read on to find out how!
TESTING STRATEGY WILL CHANGE
COVID-19 laid bare the simple fact that hospital labs are not prepared to ensure public health during a pandemic. Their strategy of outsourcing testing to higher-capacity commercial labs was derailed by backlogs, wasting critical time. They’ll need to become self-sufficient to ensure they’re better prepared for the next outbreak.
MITIGATING THE KNOWN
Labs will pursue strategies that mitigate known structural limits:
MITIGATING THE UNKNOWN
Labs will also pursue strategies that mitigate exposure to the unknown:
STEP 1: MARKET YOUR R&D CHOPS
Labs want to mitigate the risk that their current vendor(s) won’t develop the next pandemic test in time. They’ll partner with vendors who demonstrate productive R&D. IVD MedTech marketers should immediately address these fears with a robust test innovation story. Remember:
If you tout market-leading spend, but your productivity is matched by the company with the 20th largest spend, you’ve inadvertently marketed your competitor’s superior R&D productivity. Don’t make that mistake.
STEP 2: MARKET YOUR RAPID MANUFACTURING CAPABILITY
What good is being early to market with the next pandemic test if you can’t scale the manufacturing and/or systems quickly enough? COVID-19 exposed vendors whose manufacturing couldn’t meet customer demand. IVD MedTech marketers should mitigate this fear with a comprehensive, sophisticated, rapid manufacturing story.
STEP 3: MARKET YOUR ABILITY TO MANAGE THE SURGE
All labs had trouble managing the test backlog — a result of the testing surge. They just didn’t have the capacity. Future pandemics will exhibit similar surges. IVD MedTech marketers should have a surge story that answers these questions:
STEP 4: MARKET YOUR INFORMATICS ROADMAP
The lab’s unique differentiator isn’t its clinical data. It’s the actionable insights that come from that data. Unfortunately, nearly all lab informatics systems focus inwardly on workflow. To create value, labs need tools that help them support population health. They need predictive informatics solutions that focus outwardly on the community.
Solutions like these would have helped identify early outbreaks at nursing homes and in underserved communities, and could have been used to slow the progression of COVID-19 via contact tracing and quarantining. Moving forward, IVD MedTech marketers should include this population health capability in their informatics R&D roadmap stories.
DO YOU NEED HELP MAKING THE SHIFT?
Shifting beyond product-centric marketing isn’t easy. It requires a deep understanding of what matters to your customers, and how your brand can uniquely enable it. As a MedTech marketing specialist, VIVO Agency can help. Our team can guide you every step of the way with the deepest clinical lab expertise in the agency industry. Reach out to VIVO, and let’s shift your IVD MedTech marketing forward!