The healthcare industry is notoriously slow to embrace technology and digital solutions. However, despite the resistance, commercial healthcare organizations are finally starting their digital transformation journeys, not only in the way they interact with customers and support their sellers, but also the solutions they offer to clients.
Early on in the pandemic, the healthcare community struggled. Physicians had to turn to FaceTime to get technical support on products they were using. Circumstances forced clinicians to embrace telehealth solutions to see their patients; and Teams, ZOOM and WebEx became the preferred communications tools within and outside of hospitals. Seemingly overnight, the previously physical world of the hospital turned into a quasi-virtual one. Nearly two and half years on from the beginning of the pandemic, it has become clear that digital healthcare is here to stay.
Motives for making digital practices more permanent vary between the patients, clinicians and healthcare vendors that comprise the healthcare industry. Telehealth options offered patients increased freedom and flexibility in their access to clinicians. Patients now have greater visibility into their healthcare through electronic health records and practice management. Technology also helped fuel the expansion of retail clinics and wearable device options, allowing patients to take more control of their health.
Though circumstances originally necessitated that clinicians utilize telehealth, they too have found their own set of reasons to embrace technology. Digital methods have enhanced operations and care by reducing medication errors, improving hospital staffing accuracy and facilitating preventative care. Clinicians have grown more comfortable interacting digitally with vendors, with some preferring it.
A recent Alexander Group study found that hospital executives utilize vendor websites as their preferred option for obtaining product information.
Healthcare vendors also value technology for their own unique purposes. E-commerce, digital marketing and service portals have helped vendors increase customer engagement and drive sales. Data and analytic insights have also been used to deploy methods such as behavioral targeting, predictive analytics and application software. With patients, clinicians and healthcare vendors all having shifted their preferences toward digital, there is no turning back now.
Medtech companies must accelerate their digital vision in order to ride the digital transformation wave. Currently, most commercial spending is focused on in-person models and dependent on a traditional sales rep.
Though a dependable method, this does not align with evolving customer expectations. When it comes to making purchasing decisions, the Alexander Group survey found that a company’s brand and product offering are ranked four times higher in importance than a convincing sales rep. Rather than focusing on the idea of traditional sales reps, commercial organizations should instead focus their efforts on building their brand and digital capabilities. Customers now expect an omnichannel experience that allows them to determine how, where and when they want to interact.
Determining a destination, laying out a roadmap and implementing changes are all key steps to successfully build a digital organization. With a detailed vision and desired future state, the organization can align on a common goal. The next stage is creating a multi-year change plan and launching work streams that will help your organization reach this goal. To put this plan in action, leaders can deploy small-scale applications to prepare for adoption of future ways of working.
Digital commercial roadmaps can include many initiatives including marketing automation, lead generation, virtual case coverage and e-commerce. Digital transformation is not only necessary to support evolving customer expectations but is imperative to the success of digital health products in which many medtech companies are investing. To ensure both current and future success, healthcare leaders must adopt plans that will help their organizations to ride the digital wave and stay on the cutting edge of the industry.
Alexander Group is available to assist you and your firm with your digital revenue organization transformation. For more information, please contact a Digital leader today.