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Don’t Forget the Patient

Posted by Andy Kach on April 7, 2015



iStock_000036105692SmallWith the increased commoditization of products and the rapidly increasing “fast follower” environment in medical devices, manufacturers are struggling to find the differentiating value they can bring to their primary customers, health-care providers. While millions of dollars are spent researching what makes a doctor tick, many manufacturers may be missing a significant driver of value for health-care providers.

Providers’ impact on patient

Most manufacturers think primarily about how they can make the provider’s life easier—faster procedures, easier usage, differentiation for many different types of patient issues—but if you think about it from the health-care provider’s perspective, one of the most important things a device company can do is make that provider more successful with patients.

When a med device rep is pitching his or her product to the provider, the provider’s mind is split in two directions that are not always harmonized: How will this make my life easier and how will this make my patients’ lives easier? The latter comes in the form of, how can he or she better treat patients?

So, how do medical device organizations help providers impact patients? Let’s look at two hypothetical situations, one that works well and one where the manufacturer is challenged.

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1) Med Device Manufacturer Challenged in Helping Provider Impact the Patient

Orthopedics: An orthopedics company does a large market research study on provider needs on usage of its latest knee implant. The study reveals that doctors are interested in ease of use and speed in surgery. The usage research was then turned into messaging for the sales force. The device rep goes in and talks to the provider about how the product is really easy to use in surgery. The provider then talks to a new patient and suggests this new product. The first questions from the patient are: How long will it last and will I need to do this again? The provider isn’t prepared with those answers and ends up looking pretty bad in front of the patient.

What went wrong? The research missed a key question: How does it impact the patient? If the research was completed on what the patient cares about or what the provider thinks the patient cares about, the company would have seen answers such as long-term failure rate and durability, which could have been incorporated into the messaging.

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2) Med Device Manufacturer Providing a Positive Impact for the Provider with the Patient

Diabetes: A diabetes durable pump organization asked the right questions in its research about what the patient needs from the provider. The pump manufacturer determined that it needs to prepare its providers to have a more in-depth conversation with the patient, not only on the value of the pump but to show the provider how the pump works. The diabetes manufacturer then built a team of clinical reps who spend time preparing endocrinologists, primary-care providers and nurses for interactions with the patient. It provides thorough training on the pump, emphasizing what will be important to the patient. When the provider meets with the patient, he or she has can achieve the goal of making the life of the patient easier and improving the interaction with the patient.

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You don’t need a whole separate sales force to bring value to the providers you are working with, but you do have to think about what doctors value in patient interactions and make sure you really understand that interaction. In the provider’s mind, positive interactions with patients are probably the most important outcome each day. Help them improve that interaction and you can get health-care providers on your side

Don’t forget the patient!

Topics: Patient, medical products, orthopedics, diabetes, medtech, diagnostics, medical technology, Implantable medical devices, Andy Kach

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AUTHORS
Brian_Chapman_thumbnail
Brian Chapman
Principal,
ZS Associates
Tobi_Laczkowski_thumbnail
Tobi Laczkowski
Principal,
ZS Associates
Will_Randall_thumbnail
Will Randall
Manager,
ZS Associates
Matt-Scheitlin-London_thumbnail
Matt Scheitlin
Associate Principal,
ZS Associates
Andy-kach_thumbnail
Andy Kach
Associate Principal,
ZS Associates
Bhargav_Mantha_thumbnail
Bhargav Mantha
Associate Principal,
ZS Associates
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