The Coronavirus pandemic has presented before the world a crisis of the scale never observed before. Indeed, the depth and pace of disruption caused due to this health emergency is creating unparalleled challenges for economies and societies across the globe. This is especially explicit on the frontlines of healthcare delivery.
As infection spread worldwide, health systems averted significant resources toward COVID-19 response efforts. The result - the medical technology (medtech) industry is now at center stage with a never-seen-before demand for personal protective equipment (PPE), diagnostic tests, ventilators, and other critical medical supplies as well as supporting technologies.
Furthermore, alongside the extraordinary measures being undertaken to speedily ramp up manufacturing capabilities, medtech leaders are also exploring ways outside their usual boundaries to formulate creative solutions to further enhance capacity. These efforts include open-source equipment design, partnering with companies outside the sector, and deployment of medically trained employees to support public-health needs.
With all these changes underway, the important question that now needs addressing on our part is - what happens once the pandemic draws to a close? How exactly will medical technology sales change post that? Let’s find out..
Companies may have to Look for Ways to Meet the Surge in Telemedicine-related Technologies
The coronavirus pandemic has brought about an enormous acceleration in the utilization of telehealth both among American citizens and healthcare providers alike. Consumer adoption has escalated to the point where 46% of consumers are now using telehealth to replace cancelled healthcare visits as compared to a mere 11% of consumers using it in 2019.
Prior to the pandemic, the total annual revenues of telehealth players in the US were close to $3 billion, with the most well-established vendors concentrated in the “virtual urgent care” front: aiding consumers to get instant on-demand telehealth consultations with physicians and specialists.
With the acceleration of provider and consumer adoption of telehealth and expansion of telehealth beyond virtual urgent care, approximately $250 billion of present healthcare spending in the US could likely be virtualized.
So, what exactly does this mean for medical technology sales?
Many of these dynamics are likely to be in place even after COVID-19. Peoples’ preferences toward care access will continue to advance, and the telehealth model could become more deeply embedded into the healthcare delivery system.
The growing rate at which telemedicine adoption is transforming the healthcare industry today simply implies that medtech companies will have to look at new ways to meet the surge in related tools and technologies. This will ultimately lead to expanding integration and access of technology, and step-change improvements in information exchange.
For instance, telehealth usually works in conjunction with remote patient monitoring (RPM). Therefore, a forward looking medtech organization should be well-prepared to accommodate this technology within its offering.
Sales reps will need to have an idea of how this technology works in integration with telemedicine and how they can get new customers onboard with this knowledge.
Virtual care is set to become an integral part of healthcare delivery in the near future and healthcare delivery will transition from outcome-oriented approach to value-based care. Taking latest market trends into consideration and keeping yourself updated with what your counterparts are doing will be the key to expanding your organization in a post-COVID world.
This gets us to our next assumption -
Growing Need for Sales Teams to Gain Knowledge about Virtual Care Delivery Models
While the situation arising due to the pandemic demanded an instantaneous shift from in-person client interactions to virtual ones, progressive medtech leaders are now increasingly trying to contemplate the long-term shift in commercial strategy.
With the pandemic almost drawing to a close, now is a good time for organizations within the medtech niche to apply virtual selling tools to differentiated go-to-market models. One best practice for leaders would be to leverage digital technology and tools to target the right channels at the right points in the customer journey.
Asking yourself a few important questions can help you make intelligent virtual selling decisions:
Once the leadership team has defined its goals for virtual sales coverage, it can then place efforts on formulating favorable conditions to attain success.
The foremost step here would be altering the existing operating model and revamping the organizational structure to make sure there’s optimal client coverage and maximum efficiency at every single stage. Gaining complete understanding of the virtual care delivery model and its different aspects is critical to supporting virtual sales.
That will require leaders and managers within the organization to evaluate the existing technology infrastructure and suggest investments where needed to engage customers and deliver services in a virtual environment (e.g., telesales, etc). Telehealth and connected devices, including data monitoring, mobile diagnostics, and device support, underpin real-time virtual physician consultations.
Lastly, a results-driven tracking and delivery model can help ensure your medtech organization meets its virtual selling goals. Leaders need to come up with a pilot-based approach to mitigate risks, scale virtual selling, and invest in change management in order to attain desired outcomes.
Harmonizing Unstructured Data may be Critical for Informed Decision-Making
It is no secret that health data provides the most comprehensive information about an individual, which makes it one of the most sought-after targets for scammers attempting to commit identity theft, fraud, or monetary scams. Has COVID-19 presented before cyber criminals more opportunities to steal data?
According to one recent report by HHS, through 31st August 2020, there have been as many as 305 data breaches. In comparison, for the same period in 2019, there were close to 136.
For this very reason, data from medical devices and systems is considered critical to manage. Due to the unique set of challenges presented during approval, sales, and distribution, medtech companies have now started leveraging all the available resources to manage their health data.
Some important points to remember when it comes to managing data for sales post COVID-19 include:
Streamlining various data sources and standardizing and merging the corresponding datasets into a single source becomes an important first step for medtech organizations targeting success in the long run. It is equally essential to ensure robust governance of data across its management process.
All in all, COVID-19 has activated enduring changes to the healthcare biosphere. Future medtech leaders are making sure growth follows the upward curve by rethinking their strategic portfolio today. In doing so, they are also slowly making a fundamental shift towards a more consumer-centric system, one that is solely value-based.