On December 22, Apple received its third patent for using an Apple Watch to track blood pressure. This is the latest way tech giants are becoming disruptors of the medical device sales industry. But the question is: could this actually be a good thing for current medical device sales companies?
The industry is definitely divided. On one hand, smaller companies worry that they won’t be able to keep up given Apple’s extensive resources. Buyers will bypass sales reps completely and go through Apple for their purchases.
On the other hand, some people say this will push companies to develop better medical devices. By offering a better product line with features that tech giants don’t offer, medical device companies will be able to stay strong.
Only time will tell which side is right. But for now, let’s look at two experts’ opinions on the pros and cons of companies like Apple entering medical devices sales:
Mike Schultz, the president of RAIN Group, says that medical device sales companies shouldn’t be concerned about tech giants entering their space. According to him, they should be paranoid.
“Consumer technologies and technology convergence — or one device that does what it used to take 10 to do — will change the face of healthcare technology,” Schultz said. “Buyers may start buying from Amazon and Apple for medical devices, and consumers may not need to get tested at facilities because they are testing themselves at home.”
Given the clout and customer loyalty these companies have, it’s possible that instead of going to a doctor, they’ll just look at their SmartWatch. This decrease in need could cut out a lot of previously bigs sales.
“What might have been a $300,000 device sale of sphygmomanometers to a hospital may soon never happen again because consumer devices are measuring blood pressure,” said Schultz.
He went on to say that to survive, smaller companies are going to have to be more innovative. They’ll need to transition into smaller niche markets that are “too small” for big tech companies to care about.
“A $50 million-dollar market opportunity might not be interesting to Apple, but it’s a heck of a small business if it’s yours.”
Unlike Schultz, Saeed Aminzadeh, the founder and CEO of Decision Point Healthcare Solutions, sees these changes as huge opportunities for both the consumer and for medical sales companies.
“Large corporations and health insurers are looking for ways to promote better health and lower health insurance costs,” Aminzadeh said. “Corporate health challenges encourage employees to wear Fitbits and compete to log the most steps. By adding the ability to measure blood pressure, the Apple Watch is adding another dimension of tracking. In short, consumer technology is starting to put key health metrics in the hands of all consumers.”
As for the medical device sales community, leaders should see this trend as a chance to grow. He encourages companies to find new and innovative ways to incorporate consumer data into their existing products and services. This will make it easier to transition people who use devices, like AppleWatch, to consumers of your products.
“The opportunity to add data from wearables is exciting in a number of ways: it provides another engagement vehicle to promote healthy behavior.”
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