Marketing an Algorithm?
Follow these 2 Steps.

A software algorithm is a decision tree “if/then” formula to analyze and compare disparate data elements and recommend a clinical action. They analyze massive data sets to aid in diagnosis, treatment, short- and long-term prognosis, care management, and claims processing.

Algorithms are in focus right now. With healthcare completely overloaded with data, value moves away from the devices that create the data to the algorithms that identify insights and initiate actions with it. Algorithms are especially impactful when complementing overburdened clinicians with real-time decision support.

But for medical device marketers, this is where the promise of algorithms ends and the problems begin. That’s because, from a customer standpoint, your algorithm is likely indistinguishable from your competitors’. If customers can’t compare and differentiate them, they see sameness. When this happens—BOOM!—there go your margins. When sameness prevails, lowest price wins.

Cerner’s Apache is the original medical device algorithm, having been in use for over 20 years. It produces a mortality score for patients in the ICU, telling doctors whether to keep the patient in the ICU or move them to a less costly unit. Marketing it was a challenge. Here’s why:

Pulmonologist: “How does it produce the mortality score?”
Cerner rep: “It’s a black box. It’s proprietary. I can’t tell you how it’s calculated. You have to trust us.”


When you have competition, your medical device marketing cannot get away with an answer like this. Providers want to know the difference between one algorithm and another. If it significantly impacts their clinical practice, they’ll want to know how it works and they’ll want to be sure they can trust it.

You have to market what makes your algorithm special, even if you reveal proprietary information:

  • Doctors won’t trust it unless they understand it
  • It’s what sets you apart from your competition
  • If you don’t reveal part of your secret sauce, your competition will

2 steps to differentiate your algorithm:

Tease a future state with obstacles removed

  • What problems/obstacles will it help overcome?
  • What aspirations will it help bring to life?
  • How will it make life easier?
  • How will it save time and effort?

Market the algorithm’s uniqueness

  • Explain how it works
  • Provide glimpses into its “secret sauce” methodology
  • Detail the data sets it interrogates

Insightful, data-driven algorithms have the power to transform care and outcomes. Make sure you’re promoting yours effectively, so it’s seen as a premium solution, not a replaceable commodity.


Effective medical device algorithm marketing does more than describe your product. It describes the unique value your algorithm brings to the customer. We agree, algorithms are admittedly cool and sexy, but it takes more to differentiate your solution and win.

VIVO can help. We are a full-service medical device marketing agency that can give your algorithm the edge it needs to win. We learned the ropes on algorithm marketing four years ago for iRhythm, medical device startup that VIVO helped launch to success.

Let us put our learnings to work for you – schedule a Zoom and start laying the groundwork for a game-changing launch, today!

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