In an attempt to flatten the curve of COVID-19, many countries implemented lockdown policies. People are allowed to leave home to stock up essential supplies such as medicine, food or to seek medical care.
This will continue for how long? At some point, when it is safer, the lockdown might end, and people would want to return to normal.
Until then the immediate challenge is to address the pandemic, for which some medical device companies are:
- Speeding up the production of PPEs, ventilators, infrared thermometers
- Finding alternatives to these by expanding the indications of existing cleared devices
- Expanding indications of FDA cleared devices for better monitoring or remote monitoring of COVID patients or to assist these patients in any possible manner
- Designing improved diagnostic devices
- Developing augmented reality and virtual reality based tools to facilitate training for consistent preparation of more healthcare professionals
- Increase the collaboration of medical devices with telehealth platforms to continue critical operations in the healthcare industry and help patients.
In addition or instead of the above, depending on the company size, range of products and stage of development, medical device companies are doing the following:
Catching up on documentation
Companies are looking to make progress on documentation milestones that can be cost effectively worked upon in the current scenario. As such, for expanding indications, future compliance of the company with changing regulations, publications on the devices’ research, or for getting FDA approval, documentation is important.
Collaborating with an online team
While under lockdown, many companies have been looking to add an online team to integrate into their companies and existing employees to get their on-demand work done, since interviewing and hiring at this point is not really feasible. Additionally, companies would have to deal with post-COVID impact, so signing up for a long term full-time work force might not work out well.
Elexes is collaborating with clients from the US, India, UK and other geographies through various online platforms and supporting them with all their regulatory, clinical, quality and product development documentation requirements.
Working on utilizing the new flexibility offered by the regulators
To help the healthcare system in coping up with this pandemic situation, the FDA has released Twenty Two guidance documents within 1.5 months. The regulatory agencies are allowing the manufacturers to make modifications to pre-approved devices that will not produce any undue risks. Also, the FDA has increased the time that the Sponsors can take to respond to questions on marketing authorization submissions.
Finding alternatives to in person sales
Since the lockdown is affecting some areas of medical device businesses adversely, especially in person marketing and sales, creating alternative strategies, such as the following, are being adopted by companies:
- Focusing on digital marketing campaigns, social media content, influencer recommendations, etc.
- Conducting Awareness programs to help people understand their technologies and medical devices better.
- Organizing webinars to spread a word on their devices’ applications and potential benefits.
- Highlighting how their brand can help in these difficult times.
While social media marketing can be a good alternative, it is very important to be compliant to requirements and regulations when writing on these platforms. Elexes has been helping companies in creating and reviewing social media content for advertisement and promotion of their devices.
The need of the hour is to assess where medical device companies can help and evaluate what can be more efficiently done within the company to continue showing company’s growth, attainment of milestones and traction to investors and stakeholders. If you’d like to brainstorm and discuss your ideas, please feel free to write to firstname.lastname@example.org.