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Overcoming Healthcare’s Mountain of Mistrust – Part 3: Medical Device Organizations

Rock Climbing On A Mountain Ridge

Overcoming Healthcare’s Mountain of Mistrust, our series on building trust among healthcare consumers, has reached its conclusion as we turn our focus on medical device companies.  The analytics and opinion-polling firm Gallup has found a decline in Americans’ trust in many institutions and industries, and the healthcare and life sciences spaces are no different. Building direct, meaningful relationships with consumers is essential to growth, and that relationship building is quickly becoming an expectation for today’s consumer.

To recap, my colleague   took us through:

  • Part 1 of the series, which focused on providers, and
  • Part 2, which focused on payers (insurance companies)

And now, in Part 3, we will focus on medical device organizations, looking at key ways that organizations can conquer the mountain of mistrust.

Trust in the medical device space is comparatively healthy

Consumer trust research in the medical device space is still slim, but if we look at a 2019 survey by Salesforce, 72% of consumers reported trusting medical device companies. This is a high mark compared to the 49% who reported trust in pharmaceutical organizations and the 81% who reported trust in their providers.

If that study were run today, would the values be much different? Perhaps, but I expect we’d still see providers leading the pack and pharma pulling up the rear. This leaves medical devices somewhere in the middle, with a solid foundation and lots of room to grow. Let’s look at a few ways that medical device organizations can avoid mistrust.

What opportunities can medical device organizations leverage for trust-building?

  • Education drives trust in medical devices

As the saying goes, knowledge is power, and if you’ve ever worried about a medical condition you or a loved one has experienced, you know just how comforting accurate, empathetic information is from a trusted source. With so much information — and misinformation — floating around, medical device companies have a great opportunity to be the voice of knowledge. A recent Adobe study reveals that 73% of consumers express concerns about the trustworthiness of the online content they consumer. Medical device companies can leverage the trust they’ve built to address this consumer pain point through knowledge sharing.

And that knowledge sharing can take many forms: knowledge about the overall condition, about product selection, about product usage, about providers in the space, just to name a few.

Creating a platform for trusted, accurate knowledge dissemination can not only help to drive awareness and sales but can also help create ”better patients.” Knowledge can drive proper and more consistent usage. And it’s not a leap to think that greater outcomes can follow that educationally enhanced usage.

Of course, your clinical audiences demand a deeper level of understanding and providing them with content that will help them understand the product inside and out is essential. A word of warning: Don’t count your consumer audiences out when it comes to clinician-geared educational experiences. Several years ago, I worked with a medical device organization that had a library of procedure videos demonstrating the product in a real surgical setting. Once we dug into the analytics, can you guess what we found? That’s right — at least 50% of those videos were viewed by folks we could identify as patients. Not all consumers will want this level of detail, but make sure it’s accessible for the ones who do.

  • Transparency drives trust in medical devices

The need for consumer transparency has been a hot topic for years now — and for very good reason. A Statista study found that 60% of surveyed consumers reported a belief that the most important traits of a brand are trustworthiness and transparency. That’s a powerful majority. And it underscores why giving your consumers a peek behind the curtain is a recipe for trust building. So what can medical device organizations do to increase transparency.

  • Transparency around how their data is collected, used and stored.
  • Transparency around pricing and consumer costs
  • Transparency around the use of AI, both device-based and in consumer experiences
  • Transparency around the research & development and quality control processes

These are just a few examples. I don’t doubt that your unique organization has other transparency levers that you can pull.

  • Excellent consumer experiences drive trust in medical devices

As regular readers of this blog know, I’m a big proponent of creating personas and journey maps for each audience segment an organization serves. When the conversation shifts to consumer experience, here is where those journeys come in handy.

As you walk in your consumer’s shoes, think about what experiences will drive trust and empathy. For example:

  • For those seeking to understand what products are best for them, how can you provide an interactive experience that helps them compare products and bubble up those that may be more appropriate?
  • How can you make it easy for consumers to share their findings with their providers to start a more personalized conversation?
  • How can you make it easy to find pricing information, and talk to customer care when questions arise?
  • For those with DTC sales, how can you make the purchasing process as streamlined as possible? How can you support questions in those first weeks of usage?

There is no limit to the ways you can create unique, memorable experiences that demonstrate your knowledge, empathy, and authority in the space you inhabit. But it all depends on your consumer trusting what you tell them. Take the time to build trust with your consumer, and you’ll find that it’s easier for them to take the next step with you.

Our Digital Healthcare Strategy team helps medical device organizations build trust and drive conversions among their audiences. Contact us today for more information.




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Marlana Voerster

Marlana Voerster is a Senior Healthcare Strategist at Perficient, where she works with providers and MedTech, pharma, and digital health organizations to build brand loyalty and enhance the patient experience through customer-centric digital experiences.

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