Image credit: NextLevel Life Sciences

ValueConnected participated in the 4th Annual MedTech Commercial Leaders Forum in Zurich, an event bringing together more than 120 medical device leaders, organized by NextLevel Life Sciences.

Our Managing Director chaired the first day of the meeting and presented the session “How reimbursement/funding drive sales and adoption for medical technologies?”, where he shared real-life examples of companies integrating reimbursement planning and value demonstration in both effective and not-so-effective manners.

The meeting held sessions on digital health, the future of healthcare technology, commercial excellence, business models and other topics that brought relevant and insightful information to the audience.

Throughout the session, one of the main questions raised was “is value required for differentiation?”. This blog will discuss the outcomes of the event discussions.

An Evolving Market

Different sessions highlighted how medical companies relied on the power of their brands as the sole source of differentiation. As time has passed, the technical gap amongst various medical companies has significantly declined to the point where quality is almost a given for all medical products.

Then there was a move to invest on the relationship with doctors, expecting their influence and preference to be sufficient in determining the outcome of the purchasing decisions. The medical industry created the interim role of “Key Opinion Leaders” (KOLs), or doctors who (should) influence their clinics/hospitals, and even other medical colleagues, towards using or purchasing medical products.

Image credit: NextLevel Life Sciences

Recently, the purchasing decision power moved to another group entirely: the non-clinical stakeholders, such as hospital administrators, tender committees and reimbursement authorities. Companies must now talk about clinical and economic benefits together, also known as value.

From Technical to Value Selling

Since additional stakeholders have a say in the selection and purchasing process, several of the speakers pointed to value as the strongest and only sustainable aspect to differentiate on. The conclusion was “if the market has evolved, then how should we?”

It is not easy to prepare commercial teams, trained to engage with doctors and nurses, to visit and discuss cost figures with purchasers or administrators. Sophisticated tools, such as models and apps, have generated little or no results in most cases, because sales teams still feel uncomfortable engaging with the non-clinical stakeholders, regardless of what tools they use.

Teams, not tools, communicate value. That is what should be considered first.

Demonstrating Value: A Call to Action

To give you an idea on how important value is, our Managing Director, Ernesto Nogueira, asked the audience on the first day of the event to raise their hands if they believed the market has changed and demands medical technology companies demonstrate value. Nearly everyone in the audience raised their hands.

Then Ernesto immediately asked: “Raise your hands again if you know exactly what to do to demonstrate value”.

Nobody raised their hands.

It is fair to say medical companies are experimenting and learning how to demonstrate value with their teams. The traditional approach to doctors with clinical articles does not have the same impact for administrators and purchasers, who are more familiar with financial spreadsheets.

Commercial leaders know their companies cannot succeed if they continue as they have in the past. There is a clear call to action to put value first.

Finally, a big thank you for NextLevel Life Sciences for putting together such a great meeting!

Image credit: NextLevel Life Sciences

Are you struggling with your teams on how to demonstrate value of medical technology? Have you invested in apps, models, analyses that eventually did not generate the expected return? Contact us at and we will be happy to share relevant case examples.