Patient Engagement in the Emergent Medical Device Space

February 7, 2020 Scott O'Connell

Updated 11/13/2020

The Medical Device industry has come a long way since the invention of the stethoscope, but as we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the challenges and opportunities are significant.  

Integrated health data from a wearable medical device

We’re already seeing the promise of the digital age with remote robot-assisted surgeries, AI intelligence in medical imaging, and wearables such as glucose monitors that alert patients and their caregivers when they reach out-of-range levels. However, all these innovations require access to connected health data and new patient-centered business models.  

Innovation in the MedTech space represents an opportunity to deliver connected patient experiences and better health outcomes with more support for health workers as AI, IoT, and blockchain become increasingly commonplace and integrated into the coordinated care lifecycle. 

But despite these opportunities, there’s also a huge challenge—one that requires medical device companies to quickly transform their legacy business models and IT infrastructure to meet the opportunities of a connected, cloud-based economy— this monumental shift requires an equal balance of agility and trust in the systems being deployed and the right strategic partner to implement and inspire user adoption.  

The Medical Device industry is booming (and won’t slow down anytime soon) 

Medical device companies are increasingly embracing digital technology and recognizing the opportunities to shift from mature market segments to the connected device space. This shift will enable medical device companies to engage with customers like never before and shed the perception of being removed and disconnected from patient care.  

As lifestyle diseases such as type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart disease continue to increase with the aging Boomer population, the demand for integrated health data devices and services will only continue to grow.   

Emerging markets like China and India will unlock huge opportunities for the MedTech industry. However, the mature medical device companies will have to compete with high-tech market entrants who have an edge being born-in-the-cloud.  

As the world of medical devices becomes more saturated, manufacturers and distributors must evolve their strategies for how, when, and where they engage with key stakeholders. Companies that can provide performance data for their medical device success rates and show reduced patient readmissions will gain an advantage over competitors 

What is fueling the explosive growth in medical devices? 

  • Demand for innovative, connected devices – wearables, sensors, and new connected devices layered with predictive and prescriptive intelligence. This integration will enable medical device manufacturers to compare medical device data to the products they’re manufacturing and make enhancements to existing devices. It will also help them determine which product pairings are the most effective for procedures.  
  • Access to health data – integrate health data from wearables and siloed systems into a single system for a 360 view of the patient, medical device data, and supply chain and inventory movement.  
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are used to help companies keep track of their sales, but they’re evolving into much more—a 360 platform for understanding, supporting, and engaging customers throughout the buyer’s journey across marketing, sales, service, and even patient management.  
  • Economic development in emerging markets Gartner projected that enterprise application software spending in India would reach $2.5 billion in 2018 and $5.1 billion in China. An end-user survey found that Chinese organizations are focused on corporate branding while organizations in India focus on pricing and contract flexibility during the software selection process. Both countries show an interest and spending intention on CRM and digital transformation. MedTech companies that can showcase their own CRM success and how their device data integrates into their customers' CRM systems have a tremendous edge over their competitors. 

What are the biggest hurdles to digital transformation?  

  • Legacy IT infrastructure 
  • Siloed data 
  • Outdated business models and processes 
  • Disparate systems 

How medical device companies need to evolve 

Medical device companies’ relationships with payers are increasingly dependent on usage data as private payers and government health systems around the world are rethinking how they fund medical technology. MedTech companies must be able to demonstrate how their products are being used and how they drive superior outcomes to substantiate reimbursements and gain favorable status with payers.  

Medical device sales used to be heavily dependent on office visits, scrubbing in for surgical cases, and other very high-touch sales models. While this still exists, providers are increasingly being consolidated into larger health systems. Decisions on device use are becoming more centralized so healthcare provider engagement must evolve into an omnichannel strategy that includes key stakeholders in the provider ecosystem. 

Making connections between MedTech companies and patients

Millions of lives have been saved by medical technology, yet very few MedTech companies engage with their patients. However, there are signs of change on the horizon with consumer-centric areas such as diabetes and cochlear implants but is spreading to other areas and putting more pressure on medical device companies to support patients with better experiences and outcomes. 

As a result, consumer engagement, connected devices, companion apps, and patient communities are being created to deliver this new vision for collaborative accountable care. 

Ready to learn how Salesforce can fuel your transformation? Get in touch with an Appirio MedTech expert today.  

About the Author

Scott O'Connell

Scott O'Connell is the Senior GTM Manager of Appirio's Health and Life Science vertical. He is an experienced marketing professional with a successful track record of helping companies bring products to market, improving their brand awareness, and fostering customer engagement.

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