The last decade has seen unprecedented growth in innovative technologies. State-of-the-art medical devicesdrive catalyzed growth in the healthcare industry globally, new medical device products continue to hit the market, and the competition for emerging medical companies is fiercer than ever. In this post, we’ll feature a few strategic tactics that medical device startups can implement to enhance their market entry.
Develop “Wellness” Products in Parallel
As the medical device industry continues to mature, new medical device companies may find it prudent to expand their brand portfolio by creating non-regulated “wellness” products. According to the Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry blog, “some device makers are bringing products to market faster by positioning them not as medical devices but as wellness devices, which blur the line between healthcare and consumer applications and sit outside the realm of medical regulations.”
Offering adjacent wellness products with reduced or alternative functionality enables medical device newcomers to build brand awareness among customers in non-regulated environments; and, as consumer options become more abundant in the medical sector, possessing a broader brand recognition can be a distinct advantage over competitors. Wellness products, if marketed well and designed to enhance the service scope of the overall brand, can result in new lines of revenue for a budding (or even more established) medical device business.
Consumer-Friendly Device Design
Our society lives in a consumer world, and the same goes for patient populations. The average medical device user interacts daily with a variety of consumer devices that are intuitive to use, and do not require detailed instructions or extensive training to use properly. An iPod, for instance, succeeds on just a few basic principles – simple navigation, engaging user experience, easy connectivity, and contemporary design. While an iPod is different than a medical device, many medical device startups can benefit from Apple’s design principles when constructing the functionality of their medical products.
According to Invetech, the typical medical device user may be elderly, impaired, distracted, rushed, stressed, or overly confident in their abilities in spite of having not read the instructions of their particular device. All of these scenarios can lead to error, and therefore, possible negative business ramifications if the device is not designed for maximal simplicity.
In an FDA recall study, 44% of medical device recalls are due to design problems, and user error is often linked to the poor design of a product. It’s important to design your device for ease of function first, and not for beauty of form. The benefits of a well-designed product will be felt brand-wide – Inventech notes that a thoughtfully designed user interface will not only be helpful for your users, but it will help build sales through product demonstrations and word of mouth, create a loyal customer base and generate repeat purchases.
Another key objective will be to make your device’s operation instructions as simple and streamlined as possible. Many devices on the market today require extensive training or detailed instructions to use properly, and oftentimes, patients are left to learn how to use devices on their own. According to a MMDI article, “staff in a busy doctor’s office will write prescriptions, but frequently do not have the time or personnel to provide adequate training on a newly prescribed device.” Be sure to implement bold imagery and/or illustrations in your printed operation instructions, and make set-up guides as simple as possible for your target population. We also recommend producing videos and digital how-to guides that show users how to use your product, so as to clarify all operational functions and avoid user error.
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Optimize Your Website for Lead Enhancement
The days of a successful business having a static website are long gone. To compete in today’s medical device industry, your site must act as the dynamic central nervous system of your company’s digital presence. According to MD Connect, your graphics, copy and page layout must take the visitor on a well-coordinated tour of learning and understanding, and there must be a way for visitors to interact, ask questions, and receive answers. We recommend incorporating an education portal that customers can access to learn about your product and actively engage with questions, as well as creating a strong customer support platform that provides timely responses to concerns. Your company’s reputation can be immensely enhanced or diminished by your site’s accessibility and functionality, so be sure to pull out all the stops in this category.
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