The COVID pandemic has exposed the limitations of our healthcare delivery model. Hospital revenues and physician practices have been eviscerated by the elective surgery slowdown. And care models are being forced to shift even more rapidly than they were before. It’s a challenging new world for healthcare providers and those who market to them.

One result is that two massive secular waves are about to overtake the industry. Here’s how medical device marketers can surf them to growth.

Health system purchasing departments have always wielded the ultimate leverage over medical device companies: standardization. But until now, it’s been more bark than bite. That’s because, historically, it’s been difficult to get physicians to standardize on more products from fewer companies. That pendulum will now swing. Post-COVID, the benefits of standardizing surgical devices and capital equipment are too significant to ignore:

  • Mega discounts
  • Care model redesign services
  • Utilization management
  • Additional educational opportunities
  • Fewer SKUs to manage
  • Service level/performance-based agreements

Medical device marketers who offer the broadest portfolios will be best positioned to ride the standardization wave. Think Medtronic in the cath lab and OR; Ethicon in the OR; Stryker for knees, hips, and arthroscopy; 3M for wound care; Philips for imaging; and Abbott for lab testing.

Companies who win in this environment will win big. They’ll lock out their competitors for extended periods, facilitating strong customer relationships that improve care delivery. And not just with individual hospitals. They’ll lock up entire health systems – many of which comprise a dozen or more hospitals. The recent Siemens purchase of Varian is likely to be a perfect illustration. Siemens is now much better positioned than its competitors to win health-system-wide standardization deals.

Medical device marketers will have to shift to portfolio marketing that targets the strategic buyer – usually the department leader and the C-suite. They’ll have to show how their products:

  • Enable better outcomes
  • Unlock synergies
  • Create efficiencies
  • Reduce the total cost of care

Remember: Market research proves that non-clinical decision makers overwhelmingly do not want technology stories. Don’t tell one. Instead, create a story that demonstrates how your solution uniquely supports the institution’s strategic objectives.

One of the major limitations COVID has exposed is the centralization of the bulk of care in high-acuity, hospital-based environments. The brick-and-mortar model isn’t built to deliver care to large populations, especially ones seeking refuge from an infection. There aren’t enough:

  • ICU beds
  • Supplies
  • Healthcare workers

Delivering care to more people with fewer workers – while also keeping everyone safe – requires a virtual-care delivery model that lets workers monitor patients and focus on those who are most acute. But virtual care models can be vulnerable to gaps. If hospitals, patients and physicians don’t fully exchange and capture information, patients can fall off the radar, only to reemerge in the ED.

To tap into this red-hot market, be sure to create medical device marketing that positions your products as a fully integrated system. Demonstrate how they share information, close gaps, and ultimately work together to provide better outcomes. If your portfolio is incomplete, close gaps with acquisitions, or market the support your products can provide in an end-to-end virtual care platform.

Companies that market virtual care with integrated platforms are being handsomely rewarded. Teladoc’s purchase of Livongo for $18.5 billion dollars proves it. This sum is astronomical, considering both companies are relatively new to the healthcare space.

Medical device marketers are most comfortable marketing individual products. They often struggle laddering products up to a platform or system with an overarching value proposition.

But don’t worry. If you aren’t sure where to start, or if you think your current marketing is falling short, VIVO can help. As a medical device marketing agency, we have both the experience and the expertise. And our multidisciplinary team can guide you every step of the way. Reach out and let’s make shift happen together!

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