One of the biggest challenges medtech companies face is that physicians are reluctant to take on new technologies unless the new is clearly better than the old.
When you have a new product, that can be an uphill battle to prove. When physicians are having to go through training to use a new device, they want to make sure it’s going to be worth their while. You may not have data beyond your clinical trials to show off to prove effectiveness, either because a device is newer or because the hospitals own the data that does prove the effectiveness and there are other challenges around that.
Developers can help to alleviate some of these issues by focusing on greater data connectivity and incorporating more complex, insightful data into the device to prove its value.
Let’s take a look at some of the issues medtech companies are facing with getting doctors to adopt their technology, and how developers can provide solutions.
Challenges in Getting Physicians to Adopt New Technology
Often, when a medtech company presents a new product to a physician, the first thing they want to see is the data that proves it is a worthwhile investment.
In this case, “investment” could mean many different things: the money it costs to get the device, the time it takes to train on how to use the new device, and developing new processes around using the device. They want to know that it’s going to be worth all of that, and more importantly, that it will provide worthwhile improvement over what they are currently doing in terms of patient outcomes, cost of care, and/or procedural efficiency.
However, it can be difficult to prove these kinds of things if you don’t have that data yet.
If you’ve done clinical trials, you may be able to show some of that. But what often ends up happening is the hospitals own the data generated by the device, and the medical device company may not have access to that data. Hospitals are typically very protective of procedural data, and for good reason. Anytime patient data could potentially be exposed, that puts the hospital at risk.
Even when you can prove the efficacy of a procedure through clinical trials, just getting physicians to change their normal routines and adopt new processes can be a major hurdle. Your product has to have a really strong value proposition.
Improving the Value Proposition Through Data Connectivity
Developers can help to improve the value of a medical device in the eyes of physicians by really focusing on data connectivity. Medical devices are typically producing reams and reams of data, but it’s how you put it all together and present it that really makes a difference in the eyes of physicians.
Most devices will have some sort of post-procedural dashboard that will show some basic stats, like how long the procedure took or other baseline metrics. However, that usually isn’t the kind of data that piques the interest of physicians. They are looking for more complex insights that help to justify the expense of the new device.
To get at those types of insights, developers will likely need to closely work with data scientists and colleagues in product management and marketing to understand the types of insights physicians might find valuable, and how to actually surface that information. (See Dialing In on the Product Your Customers Actually Need for more on aligning to customer needs.)
When you understand the types of information that are needed, AI and machine learning may also be part of the equations to help interpret the data and provide insights.
In many cases, providing these insights also means being able to connect patient outcome data from EHRs. So, that is another component to consider when determining how to make all of these pieces fit together.
Each field and each device is unique, so working closely with colleagues to understand what improves the value proposition will be helpful as you go through this process.
The Challenge of Translating Data into Meaningful Insights
When you present data without context, all you have is noise. How do you move beyond that to provide something that is useful to physicians?
As developers, we are able to pull any number of different data points, but they aren’t useful until the information is interpreted. At Device Talks West, Dr. Bill Hunter with Canary Medical gave a presentation that explained some of those challenges with their device. Dr. Hunter explained how they were able to take the data produced by the device and analyze it to give physicians a clear picture of what they would measure during a followup appointment to understand how patients are doing in recovery. Those insights into the data would allow physicians to monitor how patients are doing without having to even see the patient in person, and tailor the postoperative care plan to what each individual patient needs.
These are the types of insights physicians are looking to see–something that enables them to set benchmarks and take better care of their patients in a more efficient manner. In the case of Canary Medical, those insights meant that physicians could ensure their patients were getting what they needed, while also saving appointment slots for the patients who truly needed that in-person care.
These kinds of insights are much more advanced than the typical metrics you see in a post-procedural dashboard. Developers can support these efforts by working closely with other departments to determine the types of data that physicians really want to see.
Justin Bantuelle balances the responsibilities of both the Chief Operating Officer and the Web Technology Director after having worked with Health Connective for more than a dozen years. Justin regularly leads the cross-disciplinary teams in building out and updating applications for Fortune 500 companies.
Justin keeps his technical abilities sharp by contributing to an eclectic mix of open-source and personal projects on Github.
As the marketing manager, Ashley ensures that our clients’ marketing strategies are put into action. This includes content writing, SEO, online advertising, analytics, and interfacing with the tools, systems, and team members needed to help our clients accomplish their marketing goals.