1. October 2008 20:18
Take it to the bridge
The first question of healthcare market access is: which market? Domestic or export? Hospital or community? Clinician or consumer? As the medical technology sector continues to diversify and connect more closely with people’s everyday lives, On Target examines how medtech companies are using innovative approaches to reach new customers in new ways.
On the principle that healthcare begins at home, this month we take a hard look at the UK market and its leading customer: the NHS. Our news section explores some of the diverse ways in which medtech is meeting patient needs in the UK. From the seven NHS Hospital Trusts being used to trial innovative technologies for infection control to the launch of new devices for injecting insulin and monitoring blood glucose, the industry is rising to the challenge of a rapidly changing society.
In the latest of our interview series, industry advisor Katy Draper discusses the challenges and rewards for UK medtech businesses of negotiating the NHS procurement system. For those in the industry who might consider that pathway nothing more than a head-brick wall interface, Katy’s words may provide food for thought: “It’s a time of opportunity – and fortune will favour those companies that are brave and innovative and take the time to understand the NHS, work with it and help it though the development process.”
On Target also examines market access issues in key therapy areas. This month, cardiologist Michael S. Norell discusses the UK market for one of the fastest-selling medical devices in history: the cardiac stent. He considers the impact of side-effect studies, cost issues and NICE guidelines on sales of this market-leading device.
We also report on an event that highlights the growing culture of partnership between the medtech industry and the NHS. At the West Midlands Medical Technologies Cluster Forum, private and public sector stakeholders in the region’s healthcare met to discuss opportunities and priorities for working together to deliver innovative health technology, service provision and business success.
Note that we’re not just talking about selling to the NHS. It’s about building bridges and developing communication from both sides, with a view to working in closer partnership towards shared goals. NHS hospitals need solutions for the future, and the medtech industry can help – but only if it has both the clinical awareness and the business initiative to meet the NHS halfway. If you can build a bridge over troubled mortar, the domestic market is there to be won.
With this issue of On Target, you will receive a form for the first Healthcare Company Perception, Motivation and Satisfaction Survey. This is your opportunity to tell us how you feel about your job – and for companies to know how well they are performing on these criteria. Read more about it on pages 20–21, then fill in the form and tell it like it is!