Launching a New Medical Device? Tackle These 5 Trends

Medical device launches in the United States have become increasingly complicated. Regulation and competition are up. Investments and sales growth are down. To make the most of your product launch, you’ll need to get serious about five key trends:

1. Mine Your Big Data

Nearly every industry has jumped on the big data bandwagon, collecting massive amounts of information on people who purchase and use their products and services. Unfortunately, the process of analyzing and cleaning up that data can take up huge amounts of time.

Alere, a rapid diagnostics device manufacturer, was spending close to 500 hours a month manually processing sales data supplied by its distributors. The company created a master data management system capable of processing the figures automatically. The system generated immediate financial results, saving the company $400,000 in monthly expenses. Strategically, it offered a faster, easier window on where and how specific data related to actual sales.[1]

You probably have access to a vast amount of data from your internal teams, partners and customers. Put it to work generating insights that can make a difference in the success of your new products.

2. Support Telehealth Capabilities

According to a recent study, 75 percent of all physician, urgent care and emergency room visits could be handled by phone or video. Laws in 29 states require insurance companies to cover telehealth services, and another 70 percent of employers plan to add teleservice benefits to their compensation plans by the end of 2017. Because they present an easy way to reduce the costs of health care, these types of services are exploding. The downside? Learning curves have left health care providers and their patients wary.[2]

If you are launching a device with a teleservice component, your tasks are clear: emphasize concise training modules for providers and users. And assist them with reliable, ongoing technical support.

3. Speed Up Development

Today’s device market calls for quick movement from initial planning to product distribution. Investors are becoming more cautious and are less likely to continue funding projects without demonstrated progress. Likewise, if your development process is slow, copycat products made for cheaper prices can swoop in to water down product appeal – and your brand – while capturing your market ahead of you![3]

This trend has paved the way for an explosion in outsourcing to Asia Pacific countries, such as China, with the professionals, facilities and workforce to handle the business at a fraction of the cost when performed elsewhere. Industry estimates expect medical device outsourcing to top $88 billion by 2025 as companies struggle to stay competitive.[4] Evaluate your product development lifecycle, determining areas where an outside party can help you can be more nimble.

4. Ensure Offshore Production

If you do move production offshore, the greatest risk could be in achieving consistently high-quality production. Protect yourself and be cautious. You should not inherently trust an overseas manufacturer to have the same commitment to quality, integrity and precision as you do. Especially as quality standards can vary from country to country, be sure to validate and implement third party work according to U.S. standards and regulations to ensure product integrity. Recall data shows that the majority of product failures are due to mistakes during manufacturing,[5] so perform extra due diligence before moving your processes overseas.

5. Emphasize the User Experience

In every branch of medical device marketing, we’re seeing a need for heightened user experience (UX). A positive UX sets you apart from the competition – and encourages adoption and retention by end-users. Frequent feature updates tell customers that you are listening to their feedback and giving them what they need. Likewise, convenient training and support modules help providers and patients adopt new devices.[6]

The market for medical devices is quickly becoming crowded. By the time you’re ready to go to market, significant investment is at stake. Keep an eye on the trends driving today’s most successful new medical devices to better position your next product launch for success.