If you sell medical technology products to doctors you already know the importance of physician education goes much deeper than a simple presentation and discussion of product features and benefits.
Whether your medical technology is specifically sold to and used by primary care providers (PCPs), medical specialists, or both, the PCP should be the target audience for education about your technology.
Yet many MedTech companies whose products are intended for use by medical specialists put limited or no resources toward educating PCPs on their products. It may be understandable, but it’s also shortsighted.
Communication with Providers Is Only Becoming More Difficult & Complicated
Regardless of the end user of your technology, the challenges for MedTech companies in targeting doctors and other healthcare providers are only increasing due to a perfect storm of obstacles.
These challenges require more and more effective communication and education of providers and PCPs must not be neglected whether they are the end users or not.
Medical Technology for Non-reimbursed Healthcare Services
If you sell a device that serves an elective, cash-pay, non-reimbursable treatment (usually to private practice doctors), you have to convince your prospective buyer they will be able to generate the additional revenue that justifies the investment in the technology.
Your buyer also wants to be assured the technology and related treatment is effective and will result in happy patients and referrals. If the buyers are medical specialists, they can and will do their own direct marketing to patients. If they can also develop a consistent referral pattern from PCPs, that marketing cost is lower than direct-to-patient marketing and the patient will be coming with an endorsement from their doctor.
Medical Technology for Insurance-Reimbursed Healthcare Services
With the rapid transition to a value-based payment model, increased billing revenue is not always a benefit. In fact, it may be a detriment to the degree that the client has already transitioned away from fee-for-service and toward VBC, or to the extent that the procedure or use of your MedTech solution is included in bundled payments.
It is also no longer sufficient to educate providers only regarding clinical outcome benefits.
A convincing case must also be made for healthcare cost reduction through the use of your medical technology. Depending on the type of medical technology, cost reduction might be derived from:
Employed or Independent: PCP Education is Important
The PCP may not be the direct buyer or user of your medical technology. Even if the PCPs are the primary end user for your technology, if they are employed physicians, they don’t control the purse strings.
However, PCPs are in an increasingly influential position regarding recommended treatment for patients, whether they are the primary user or a referral source for a specialist.
For example, if a hospital or health system purchases medical technology and the employed PCP does not educate their patient and endorse its use, the utilization of the technology will fall short of the organization’s targets.
PCPs Appreciate Attention & Recognition of Their Importance
In the fee-for-service model, PCPs have long been considered the lower tier of importance and targeting for MedTech companies, but that traditional fee-for-service pyramid has been inverted.
PCPs are frequently in the driver’s seat for much of today’s patient care and will only become more important in the VBC model.
MedTech companies that fail to properly educate PCPs on their technology, from the perspective of what is most important to the provider and to their patient, will see lower sales of their technology in the future.
About the Author
Carevoyance contributor Lonnie Hirsch is the Founder and CEO of Hirsch Healthcare Consulting, one of the premier consultants and strategists for helping medical practices and hospitals across the U.S. and in other countries achieve profitable top line and bottom line growth.