Aroon Krishna and David Judelson, co-founders at VirtuMed talked about the challenging environment for current medical device manufacturers and VirtuMed’s Synapse Mobile cloud based, on-demand, customer engagement platform solution to address the challenges, at a recent www.bio2devicegroup.org event.
Enumerating examples of challenges impacting medical device marketplace, Judelson, said Boston Scientific neuro modulation business has declined due to reimbursement challenges, Medtronic agreed to settle and stop the sales of pain med pump due to link with patient deaths, and big promise and subsequent failure of renal denervation solution has cut the growth among other device manufacturers. There are challenges across the board from development to commercialization, said Judelson. Hospitals are faring no better. Nearly 40% of California hospitals received bad grade, constant M&A activity among hospitals, pressure from changing government initiatives, difficulties with privacy and security of EMR data has all led to medical device companies spending more money to get less and spending more in sales and marketing efforts is not the answer.
Five current headwinds are defining the existing environment. Increased regulation and declining reimbursement from fee for service to bundling and changes in how CMS pays, is putting a lot of pressure on providers who pass the burden on to device manufacturers. Second, there is a lot of variability in how different hospitals measure quality. Third, aging population with increasing co-morbidities is leading to variability in clinical trials and making it challenging to assess the effects of interventions. Four, challenges are increasing with decreasing hospital access for sales reps. Five, huge global volatility with large swings in foreign exchange rates, government uprisings etc. is making it hard to estimate earnings.
Hospitals are often burdened with internal challenges of system integration, promise and challenges of mobile technology, problems of achieving seamless inter-operability, thinning margins, vendor management issues, physicians getting overburdened with administrative tasks, HIPPA issues and more. All these challenges are compounded with sub par performance from medical device companies as they are delivering more failures in R&D, demonstrating lack of innovation with decreased ROI followed by decreasing investment in venture and M&A activity.
Currently, there are few solutions for comprehensive customer management, said Judelson. Some general solutions like Salesforce, Oracle, imshealth, freshdesk, Veeva and Zendesk have been applied. However, these require significant customization, often have complex pricing structure, are pricey for small to mid-sized enterprises, have complex IT integration and archaic mobile user interface, and are often based on limited knowledge of medical device econsyste. There are no existing CRM solutions specially designed for medical device industry, said Judelson.
VirtuMed’s cloud based remote connectivity solution specifically fills in this gap, where device manufacturers can establish direct line with the customer, provide better, more timely customer support as a value added service, develop apps, and leverage knowledge of product users globally with access to real time outcomes data. There are many gains from such timely information. Research indicates that with timely physician access to post surgery recovery process and real-time conversation with patients, recovery occurs faster and patients remain more engaged in their recovery. While there is a great deal of patient to patient interaction in social media, there are fewer tools for patient to provider engagement and that needs to change.
VirtuMed’s Synapse mobile solution helps build a connected ecosystem that combines commercial CRM, social networking, on demand communication, big data visualization, HIPPA compliant infrastructure, and enhances security with data changing hands while ensuring availability of data at the right time to the right people. This solution aims to unite all key stakeholders on a single platform with primary objective for positive patient impact, said Krishna. VirtuMed product is poised to offer support to companies of any size and its tech solutions can be applied at each stage in medical device life cycle, from early innovation to clinical stakeholder engagement, to customer engagement to CRM platform to enable growth in emerging markets; literally from ideation to discovery to clinical to commercialization, said Krishna.
The talk with followed with Q&A.