The right physicians can make (or break) your medical device sales

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Physicians can have a drastic impact on the success of your sales strategy—the key is knowing when and how to approach them.

There are several ways in which physicians and allied healthcare professionals can influence whether your medical device is adopted at a healthcare facility. But first, at the beginning of any go-to-market strategy, you need to analyze and understand patient claims to identify the population segments most likely to benefit from your device. The physicians performing the highest volumes of relevant diagnoses and procedures should be the first providers you look to for deeper insights into the market segments you’re targeting.

Three of the most important questions you should be asking are: 

  • Which physicians are your patients seeing before receiving a diagnosis? This includes individual physicians as well as specialty areas.
  • Where are your patients going to receive care after they are diagnosed? This can be a combination of physicians, facilities, and specialty areas.
  • Are there physicians who see higher volumes of patients with the same diagnosis, and are there health patterns or trends in this population?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you should have an idea of which individual clinicians might offer unique perspectives on the adoption and applications of your device. You could also learn more about the patient population you’re targeting and develop more effective use cases and talking points.

Consider these additional ways that physicians can influence how you market your medical device

Affiliations and referrals 

Most medical device companies know how to leverage diagnosis and procedure data to find their ideal targets. A combination of ICD, HCPCS, and CPT codes can pinpoint a specific patient population and identify where these patients are located geographically. High-volume regions and facilities are the prospects most likely to be open to a new solution. 

Comorbidity information is also useful when strategizing and building value propositions. For example, 1.5 million diabetes patients are diagnosed with hyperlipidemia in a given year. If your implantable device tracks the fat levels in patients’ blood, you could save patients and payors money by flagging potential issues before they become dangerous. 

Top 10 diabetes comorbidities 

Fig. 1 Image taken from Definitive Healthcare’s interactive Visual Dashboards on Therapy Area Analytics.

Diagnoses should not be your sole focus—physician referral patterns and affiliations are equally important when crafting a sales strategy. If multiple physicians in one region or across regions are all referring patients to the same specialist, that clinician could be your first contact and, more importantly, an influencer within their organization.

Additionally, your team should note whether patients are being referred to physicians in-network or out-of-network. In-network referrals indicate that CMS payments and reimbursements are staying within one system, and there is a higher likelihood that patients will receive proper care coordination and adhere to treatment regimens. Out-of-network referrals can increase the odds of patient leakage, revenue loss, and ineffective treatments.

Key opinion leaders and clinical trial participants

Physician influencers are your foot in the door. These are the providers you want to talk to first — gaining their trust and proving that your device can help solve their unique pain points. This is your opportunity to show that you’ve done your research on a therapy area and a specific care facility. Having an ally during the sales process can vastly improve your chances of success with decision-makers later.

Key opinion leaders (KOLs) are experienced healthcare professionals, often physicians, who can offer specialized insights on your go-to-market strategy and the applications of your device. If you’re lucky, KOLs could be willing to act as consultants or participate in future clinical trials. Physician buy-in is vital for the successful adoption of new devices and treatments, and KOLs can leverage significant influence.

Clinical trials summary dashboard 

Fig. 2 Image from the clinical trials dashboard feature within the Cleveland Clinic’s hospital profile, available through Definitive Healthcare’s Hospitals & IDNs platform.

Customizing your value proposition 

After finding your KOLs and physicians with high referral rates, you can leverage their individual and collective knowledge to build the most effective value propositions. Use your connections to verify your prospect’s biggest pain points and find out what devices they’re currently using—and what it would take for them to switch. This will help you speak their language, gain their trust, prove your value, and close your deals. 

Looking for the data, analytics, and expertise that can help you build stronger physician relationships and map out the market? Sign up for a free trial today and find out how you can use healthcare commercial intelligence from Definitive Healthcare to: 

  • Compare quality metrics across care providers 
  • Map referral patterns, networks, and affiliations 
  • Conduct provider and population health analyses 
  • Track trended facility financial performance 
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