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Hospitals face a number of changes in their business environment that may change the ways they evaluate medical devices and capital spending decisions.
Many medical device companies already are feeling the effects of these changes and adjusting their product and marketing strategies accordingly.
To a certain extent, the song is the same sad melody we've been hearing in recent years, but the words are slightly different. And, as a result of subtle changes in the thinking of leading hospital industry strategists, marketers to hospitals and health systems need to rework their sales strategies, Web sites, brochures, trade show exhibits and sales pitches.
VHA Inc., Irving, Texas, and the accounting and consulting firm, Deloitte & Touche, Detroit, say there are six categories of issues that hospitals must face.
In Health Care 2001, a strategic assessment of the health care environment in the United States, they say the six issues are:
* The financial crunch. The current delivery model is ineffective because of eroding earnings streams, limited access to capital and strategic flexibility and the rush to increase market share and financial margins. What's needed are "improved decisions plus reduced expense structure." For suppliers, the question is, how do your products reduce costs, improve margins and attract financing?
* The rise of consumerism. Today's system creates confusing and inconvenient patient experiences. Consumers are empowered by Internet access to health care information. And consumers will demand personalized service and convenient patient interfaces or they will choose other providers. What's needed are "quality, convenience, personalization, efficiency and service as centerpieces of customer experience." How are medical device manufacturers building answers to these consumer demands into their products?
* Labor and talent shortages. Hospitals are coping with a "skill set shortage [that is] …