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April 12, 2024

MedTech: 5 key steps toward a next-gen revenue stream

Healthcare providers are investing in MedTech equipment. We explain what manufacturers can do to turn an equipment sale into recurring revenue.

According to a recent report from Precedence Research, global medical equipment maintenance is set to become a $130 billion industry by 2032. MedTech manufacturers are in a prime position to capture a large portion of this market—if they can offer next-gen services that help healthcare providers that are investing in MedTech equipment maximize their return.

While most modern commercial equipment includes built-in monitoring services, manufacturers can enhance this capability by integrating additional data from Internet of Things (IoT) devices and customer relationship management (CRM) systems, including Salesforce. By creating such a “system of systems,” MedTech manufacturers can establish a clearer and more complete view of device status, enabling them to alert users to potential issues that could disrupt service. This proactive approach helps providers maximize their investments—and unlocks a significant revenue stream for manufacturers.

Meeting healthcare providers’ needs

Before healthcare providers invest in MedTech equipment, they perform a robust cost-benefit analysis. However, one cost often overlooked is equipment downtime.

A recent study from Siemens found that the cost of equipment downtime has increased at least 50% since 2019 across all sectors. In some industries, the cost of a single piece of equipment unexpectedly going offline could reach $2 million per hour.

For healthcare providers, equipment downtime isn’t just a matter of money. Backlogs and disruptions also have an impact on the patient experience and potentially health outcomes.

Many healthcare executives recognize that maintaining healthy equipment is much like having a healthy body: early detection and preventative measures are the keys.

By helping providers know when and how to proactively service equipment, MedTech manufacturers can help their customers maximize the value of their investment by avoiding costly and inconvenient disruptions.

Improving maintenance and monitoring in MedTech

Here are some of the ways manufacturers can both improve customer experience and unlock new revenue streams:

1.    Data-enabled remote monitoring.

Most commercial MedTech equipment has built-in IoT capabilities for specific tasks, such as monitoring consumable levels and equipment status. Data from these sensors is transmitted to a remote monitoring system developed and overseen by the MedTech company.

This system serves as the foundation of the remote monitoring and proactive maintenance capabilities. Through the collection and analysis of sensor data embedded in medical devices, MedTech providers can remotely diagnose issues and alert customers to potential problems before they lead to downtime.

Establishing this proactive capability allows manufacturers to re-engage providers in the customer journey with a value-add service. In so doing, they can differentiate the experience and reach customers at a point when other service providers are not yet present, thus amplifying their revenue opportunity.

2.    Automated service request creation.

With the right data in hand, MedTech manufacturers now have a clearer sense of when equipment needs to be serviced, which means they can schedule service visits before functionality is disrupted.

And once they integrate a CRM system, manufacturers can also populate basic information in the service order, such as equipment type, model number, customer point of contact, and case priority, as well as other factors specific to each customer’s contract, warranty and service agreement.

This approach unlocks significant efficiency gains for manufacturers by automating potentially tedious tasks such as reviewing contracts and service level agreements, thus driving value for the customer and the business alike.

3.    Automated field service engineer scheduling.

Dispatching field service technicians is another area that can be streamlined and, in some cases, automated through integration with existing systems, such as Salesforce Field Service.

When it comes to complex medical equipment repairs, selecting a suitable technician relies on various factors, such as their familiarity with the device and the severity of the issue. Additionally, important service considerations like availability, language proficiency, and travel time must be accounted for. Finally, the company must also consider a customer’s contract terms.

All of this information—which resides in disparate systems—can be integrated to provide a series of data-driven recommendations to the service team manager to assist in decision-making and route the request to the most appropriate field service engineer.

Managing field service assignments this way can improve the critical first-time fix rate metric. By engaging the right technician at the outset of each job, the manufacturer can provide better, faster service to the customer; it also helps optimize resources for the manufacturer.

4.    Automated order creation.

Another key component of the service agent’s effectiveness is whether they have the proper equipment and materials to complete the job.

This is another area in which IoT data and service history can help predict what parts may be needed. With this information, the MedTech company’s field service managers can automatically create orders for spare parts and consumables from the nearest inventory location and trigger shipment directly to the customer site.

This helps ensure that technicians have what they need when they arrive at the job location and also cuts down on transportation and logistics time and costs. Having a better understanding of what materials and parts will be needed may also help reduce the need for healthcare providers to keep inventory on hand.

5.    Leveraging gen AI to automate and streamline core activities.

Finally, rapid advancements in generative AI technologies can be integrated at various stages of the customer journey to enhance service while optimizing resources. These use cases span the entire customer lifecycle and can automate or streamline a variety of tasks, amplifying human potential. They include:

  • Field service assistance. Generative AI-enabled chatbots can help diagnose equipment issues and provide detailed repair instructions for field service engineers.

  • Customer support. Generative AI can automate responses to basic customer queries or schedule service visits. Knowledge management tools can also be used by contact center agents to quickly find answers to more complex customer questions or review how similar issues were solved in the past.

  • Sales enablement. Generative AI-enabled tools can support various aspects of the sales function, such as automating contract renewals and providing personalized recommendations for cross- and up-selling opportunities.

  • Account management. Teams can also use generative AI to automate routine or recurring account management activity, such as sending invoices, issuing reminders, or following up on overdue payments.

  • Supplemental services. AI-enabled tools can help analyze issues across customers and equipment, identifying patterns otherwise undetectable that can further enhance predictive maintenance capabilities, including inventory management, forecasting, and workforce management.

Next steps

With the global medical equipment maintenance industry expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 10.8% until 2032, MedTech manufacturers have a valuable opportunity to access a new revenue stream. But to capitalize on this expanding market, manufacturers need to differentiate their offerings through robust, data-enabled proactive maintenance and remote monitoring capabilities.

Samir Tamhane

Associate Director, CX CRM Advisory Group

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Samir Tamhane is a biomedical engineer and life sciences SME with 25+ years of experience in various roles including selling and repairing high end medical equipment, business research, strategy, business development and consulting.

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