Amid the current global crisis induced by the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, industries across the world are experiencing major shifts in the ways they operate. Healthcare industry is the one that has become overwhelmed as it continuously faces the challenges of delivering effective medical care. The medical device industry is not spared by the upshots. The outbreak has delayed the new European Union Medical Device Regulation (MDR), which has delayed clinical trials. The centers for Medicare and Medical Services (CMS) also announced a delay in all the non-essential procedures in the United States during the pandemic. This delay will significantly impact the bottom line of manufacturing industry.
So, how can the medical device industry navigate the impact of the pandemic? Here I have summed-up 4 steps that can help you navigate the challenges successfully:
Make and Implement COVID-19 Response Strategy
Unprecedented times call of unprecedented actions – the actions that go beyond business as usual. Medical device manufacturers should focus on making and implementing strategies that are flexible enough to support the current needs of your clients. Pay attention to:
- Risk assessments processes: Understand the actions that should be taken immediately and outline the risks associated with those. For example, clinical trials that will benefit the participant might embed a question that whether the trial can be discontinued or suspended. This would be done with the help of a risk assessment.
- Ask these questions to plan around the products: Does the device qualify for Emergency Use Authorization? Are there any international exemptions associated with it?
Understand that with so many restrictions being imposed on businesses throughout the world, clinic trials will become more difficult, considering the regulatory changes, remotely operating workforces, delays in IRB approvals, etc. Build your marketing strategies keeping these factors in view.
1. Working Closely with Stakeholders
With increasing demand of collaboration among various sectors of healthcare industry, regulators and patients for improving public health, there will be a complete change in the ways they work. The medical device manufacturers and professionals should look at the long-term gains and opportunities, and collaborate with all these stakeholders to help them battle the challenges of the pandemic and to ensure a speedy recovery of public health.
However, this might imply a rise in production of medical devices, but complying with regulatory guidelines should also be kept at the core.
2. Strengthen Partnerships
This is the high time when medical device manufacturing professionals can build better and long-term relationships with hospitals and/or clinicians. Talk to the clinicians and other end users of your products about their experiences – challenges, requirements and buying journeys. Make relevant changes to your solutions or find new solutions to answer their needs.
Paying more attention to research about understanding your clients and their end customer will not only give you better insights into their pain points and needs, but will also help you build better relationships with them.
3. Alternate Sourcing
The medical device markets are seeing ad hoc requirements of variations in medical devices. Also, with restrictions around logistics at many places, they are seeing a need to select suppliers based on their capabilities. Alternate sourcing can become the perfect solution to these challenges. Find and engage with medical device manufacturers or suppliers with the bandwidth of spare production to meet the demands of ad hoc variations in the products. Choose suppliers whose logistics capabilities can fulfill your needs, such as making sure that the supply of medical devices or products to your facilities is uninterrupted.
Communication is the key. Make sure that you keep you buyers updated about your solutions or services, and let them know that you are committed to delivering the best services to them.