We are seeing a trend toward medical-product suppliers cautiously moving into adding services to their device and diagnostics product offerings. I first noted this trend when Medtronic acquired Cardiocom in mid-2013 and combined that move with a European initiative to improve the efficiency of cardiac catheterization labs. Other such initiatives have since been revealed. In fact, five of the top 10 medical device companies are now including service components in their portfolios.
The motivations are obvious: top-line growth and differentiation. The roadblocks are equally clear: market unfamiliarity, entrenched competition, and fear of failure! The simple fact is that you must come to fully understand the market and ecosystem you intend to serve before rolling out a service component.
We got involved in this trend by supporting a device client in assessing the opportunities in extending the site of care and associated procedures to various non-hospital settings. We performed what I call a screening assessment to establish whether or not moving forward with a services rollout makes sense. That process took about two months and yielded a clear picture of the opportunity and the steps needing to be taken going forward.
Our objective was to explore the business landscape within alternative sites of care. We accomplished:
- Identification of key market segments, including key players
- Determination of business/service models for services that are based in hospitals, physician practices, patient homes, and standalone centers, including how they develop their customer relationships
- Understanding the economics of alternative-site service businesses (payers, reimbursements, and costs)
- Estimation of the approximate market size and dynamics affecting these businesses overall
The kinds of service solutions to consider for your own initiative are many, and the details are very specific to your existing product portfolio and market positioning. But a few attributes are now common to many emerging services initiatives: (1) clinicians are coming to view devices that deliver data to be especially valuable, and (2) collaborating with existing healthcare players in partnering relationships is a frequent (and sometimes essential) means to an end.
A quick-read introduction to this topic, and a good place to start, is a
Med Device Online
authored by PwC. If you've been thinking about a services offering, consider getting started with a screening assessment to help navigate the minefield.
After your screening assessment is done, and assuming things look favorable, consider the following additional steps in rolling out a services offering:
- Select optimal sites of care for your targeted services
- Identify and roughly quantify potential corporate benefits of the new offering
- Assess competitive advantages and craft associated messaging
- Detect potential client objections and develop messaging to counter those roadblocks
- Address key details of rollout execution, such as
- Staffing and coverage
- Site targeting criteria
- Partnering prospects
- Payer relationships
- Explore and choose specific partnering opportunities, such as
- Existing national players
- Regional players
- Local test cases
- Hospital networks
- Deal structuring
- Examine potential future extensions of your new "services" strategy