Forbes online recently posted a commentary which should be of interest to every medical device marketer in the United States. This article reported on a study conducted by the analytics firm IHS, which predicted that the Affordable Care Act will boost the Consumer Medical Device Market to over $10 billion by 2017. In a positive “perfect storm” of events The Consumer Medical Devices Production Yearbook - 2013 found that aging baby boomers, increased emphasis on wellness and prevention, and the Affordable Care Act will all converge to increase the demand for all types of consumer medical devices. Ranging from pedometers and blood glucose meters to personal scales and cholesterol meters, revenues were predicted at $8.2 billion for 2013, and are expected to rise another 5-9% in 2014.
A major cornerstone of the ACA is providing reimbursement based on the value and quality of care provided, not just on services. This is interpreted to mean that doctors and patients will form a stronger partnership in the pursuit of health, with patients taking on a greater monitoring role. Preventative care, home monitoring and healthy lifestyle demands are expected to be the driving forces behind a sustained growth in demand for consumer medical devices.
What this means to marketers of consumer medical devices is that many will have to refocus their marketing strategies from physician-directed marketing to consumer-involved strategies. While physicians might previously have been responsible for recommending and controlling the use of these devices, patients may now be more involved in the selection and purchase process. Websites may need to be revised to appeal more to the patient than the doctor. The effectiveness of traditional marketing methods such as radio, print and television may diminish because of the difficulty in targeting today’s consumer, while the need for social media strategies may increase as more companies turn online to attract buyers.
For those in the consumer medical device industry it’s crucial to review your entire online marketing strategy now to see if it holds up to these new standards and opportunities. If your company is not visible online, today’s consumers could pass you by. Your online strategy will have to work harder than ever to make your website stand out from the competition, increase lead generation, and convert that interest to product sales.