Growth Insights for CEOs

The Challenges of Introducing New Medical Technologies

Posted by The Chief Outsider

Say your company is introducing a new product for use in the surgical correction of scoliosis in teens. Your mission is to present this product to doctors who have their own time-tested methods and persuade them to start using it in the surgeries they perform on people's children. This is a brutally tough sell, as you can imagine, but it can be done. I know, because I did it.cutcaster 800895901 Pink stethoscope on white keyboard small

Obviously you must have both seriously effective technology and a profoundly compelling sales message. The transition from an established technology to a new one is a massive paradigm shift, not only for the doctors involved but for the medical community as a whole. This includes the licensing boards who ask would-be specialists how they would choose to treat a particular medical challenge. If your technology isn't recognized as an acceptable option to these peer groups, no doctor will go near it.  You also have to convince the FDA, the insurance companies, the Medicare people (CMS) and other concerned authorities. To do this, you must collect a large, verifiable pile of evidence in the form of scientific proof and medical evidence that this new technology really works. You need peer review and recognition. You need key opinion leaders to help drive the acceptance.

Equally critical to your success is your marketing campaign to the prospective patients themselves. You don't just want doctors recommending your technology — you also want patients to ask for it. The Internet has made the generation of consumer demand much cheaper and easier than it was just a few years ago. Today you have the option of leveraging highly efficient modern media channels such as social media to create demand among scoliosis sufferers who seek solutions online. So whether you are helping a company with a new scoliosis implants or devices to help correct hammertoe sufferers, digital patient education initiatives should be a key element of the go-to market strategy.

Once you've got both doctors and patients requesting your product, you've got a two-front push toward eventual success. But don’t overlook the critical third party reimbursement challenges. It worked for me, and it can work for you too.

- by Marshall Perez, CMO, BDO    570.689.7451

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Topics: Digital Marketing Tactics, Chief Marketing Outsider, Product Strategy, CEO Choices, Marketing Strategy, Marketing Implementation

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