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Tips for selling medical devices to hospitals & IDNs

Tips for selling medical devices to hospitals & IDNs

Updated June 2022

Stop me if you’ve experienced this before:

Your medical device company has invented a device for hospitals. You’re moving through the FDA’s medical device development process and are on track to go to market.

You know the commercialization journey is lengthy and complicated, however, so your team is working around the clock to get the information needed to achieve profitability throughout the product’s lifecycle.

But you’re running into some roadblocks, and you have critical business questions that need answers. Questions like:

  • What are the best ways to reach the hospitals I’m targeting?

  • How do I effectively convey my value proposition?

  • How can I identify and reach the decision makers with purchasing power?

If you’ve ever found yourself asking these questions—you’re not alone. Fortunately, we’ve helped countless companies across the healthcare industry get answers to their questions and grow their business for 10 years. Think of this blog as your handy guide. Below, we’ve compiled some of our best tips for selling medical devices to hospitals and integrated delivery networks (IDNs).

Three tips for selling medical devices to hospitals

Here are three tips to consider when selling to any hospital or care facility:

  1. Ensure you’re targeting high-value facilities
  2. Use performance metrics to demonstrate your value proposition
  3. Prove your knowledge of facility pain points

1. Ensure you’re targeting high-value facilities

One of the most important steps in the sales cycle is to determine your total addressable market (TAM), segment your market into territories and prioritize the high-value accounts that need your medical device.

To identify and understand which hospitals to prioritize, you’ll need to know:

  • Who are the physicians at this facility?
  • Who are the patients at this facility?
  • What are those patients being treated for?

Here’s an example. Your medical device is an implantable knee prosthesis used in total knee arthroplasty procedures. In this case, your greatest chance for sales success is to target facilities with high volumes of knee injury diagnoses or knee replacement procedures.

You can use HospitalView to get this information. You can use ICD-10 and CPT/HCPCS codes to uncover high-volume procedures and see which physicians are submitting claims.

Once you’ve identified your target hospitals, it’s important to use specific, data-driven metrics to establish your understanding of that care facility and demonstrate the value of your medical device.

2. Use performance metrics to demonstrate your value proposition

If you cannot clearly outline how your device will help a hospital meet its goals, like improving quality performance, your point of contact is unlikely to understand the true benefit and impact of your device.
 
When crafting your value proposition, point out device applications and care outcomes that your prospects might not have considered—thus increasing the value of your product.

You can improve your medical device selling strategy by highlighting specific metrics that support provider focus on patient care and improved outcomes, like:

  • 30-day readmission rates
  • Co-morbidities
  • Patient complications

For example, if you’re selling a drug-eluting stent with a higher success rate than existing options, that device would improve care outcomes for angioplasty patients. Additionally, it could also reduce 30-day readmissions and prevent secondary diagnoses and other complications like restenosis. By detailing the multitude of ways in which your device can improve care quality and reduce costs, you increase your likelihood of closing a deal.

3. Prove your knowledge of facility pain points

Identifying the pain points of a particular hospital or care facility shows your prospect that you understand their unique challenges and have catered a solution just for them.
 
When selling to hospitals, some of the most vital metrics to know are:

Some facilities may struggle with readmissions, while others report high rates of healthcare-associated infections. The most common quality metrics that hospitals focus on include HCAHPS patient satisfaction scores, hospital-acquired condition scores, and value-based purchasing reimbursement adjustments.

For example, if a hospital’s complication rates for a total knee replacement are above the state or national average, the facility could face financial penalties from CMS. A supplier offering a prosthesis with unique joint cushioning that improves implant longevity could reduce long-term care costs and decrease the risk of complications and secondary surgical procedures—preventing hospital revenue loss and CMS penalties.

How to sell medical devices to IDNs

Selling medical devices to IDNs can be more complicated than selling to a single care facility, but the outcome may include greater financial benefits. If you successfully sell to an IDN, your device could be implemented throughout its entire network of facilities—which could include ambulatory surgery centers, skilled nursing facilities, and other long-term care facility types.

Below are two tips for improving your sales strategy when targeting IDNs:

  1. Collect the right data
  2. Engage with KOLs

1. Collect the right data

Like assessing a hospital, you’ll want to gather insights into the health system as a whole before you approach the IDN. You’ll want to know the:

  • Total number of physicians
  • Total number of facilities
  • Facility types
  • Health system finances

To continue with an earlier example, if you’re selling a drug-eluting stent, large IDNs with many members may seem like prime targets. That’s only true, however, if those member facilities are performing a high volume of coronary angioplasty procedures.

On the other hand, a small health system that does perform a high volume of angioplasty procedures might not have the financial bandwidth across its network to afford your medical device.

This means that gathering key information before initial outreach is essential to making more informed decisions and increases the odds of success for your sales team.

2. Engage with KOLs

Selling to an IDN means that you’ll likely be pitching to a C-suite executive or VP, but this person may be difficult to contact. Ongoing industry consolidation has resulted in a smaller number of large health systems.

So how do you approach them? Identify a key opinion leader (KOL) within the network. KOLs are well-respected physician influencers within their medical community. Developing a good relationship with the right KOLs can help you strengthen your medical device messaging sand sales strategy and put you in contact with the right decision makers.

If you’ve clearly demonstrated the benefits of your device and proven its positive effect on patient outcomes, that KOL may be more likely to be your sales champion, which can contribute to sales success.

Learn more

Are you looking for more information about how to improve your success when selling medical devices to hospitals and IDNs? Watch our on-demand webinar, Planning your 2022 medical device marketing & sales strategy. Or, get hands-on with the data we’ve talked about throughout this blog by starting a free trial.

Ethan Popowitz

About the Author

Ethan Popowitz

Ethan Popowitz is a Senior Content Writer at Definitive Healthcare. He writes data-driven articles about telehealth, AI, the healthcare staffing shortage, and everything in…

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