The New World: Seizing Opportunity in a World of Disruption
on February 11, 2021
By: Mike Mallaro, CEO, VGM Group, Inc
While we all faced disruption and adversity in 2020, our industry emerged with tremendous
opportunities ahead of us. The pandemic was an inflection point. Inflection points change trajectory and unlock the prospect of more healthcare at home. Tomorrow looks better than yesterday.
More healthcare at home is clearly a mega trend emerging from 2020. More healthcare at home will take many forms, but I encourage you to focus on elements that involve the need for and use of nondisposable medical equipment in the patient’s home, and/or the resupply of consumable or disposable health supplies to users in their homes. Those are areas where you have capability, expertise, and a head start on others in the healthcare chain.
Touchless Tech and Digitalization
Touchless is a trend exacerbated by the pandemic. Your patients, or at least 98% of them, would prefer to have their CPAP machine shipped to the comfort of their home and set up remotely on their schedule. Most CPAPs, soon, are going to be set up touchless at home, rather than at the office. That’s the future. Jump in now. Don’t let set up in the office be a dinosaur you cling to.
You know about the drastic shift in wallet share from brick-and-mortar to e-commerce. Touchless is a major driver of that shift, along with its good friend convenience. Slapping up an e-commerce website without a strategy and a commitment is not digital transformation. I’d suggest focusing on the user experience element of digital. Other aspects of user experience which present great opportunity are coordination of care to the patient’s benefit, creating a few impactful moments where it would matter to the customer, clearer billing, and limiting unintelligible jargon. But clearly, e-commerce opportunities are growing too, especially in CPAP.
Better sleep was a mega trend pre-pandemic, and the pandemic has only solidified that status. A large number of people don’t sleep well, and better sleep is a $40 billion industry. A staggering 80% of Americans say they want to improve the quality of their sleep. Half of all Americans characterize the quality of their normal night’s sleep as “poor.”
Sleep as a mega trend requires you to look at a bigger picture than you might be used to looking at. Over-the-counter (OTC) sleep remedies are a $1 billion category at mass market. Sales of melatonin, the OTC sleep supplement, grew by 44% during the pandemic. Collectively, DMEPOS providers are in direct contact with 10 million people who happen to have or are using a CPAP. If you count their spouse, who is more likely than not to have a sleep issue too, you’re able to directly touch nearly 20 million people who do not sleep well. Walmart and Target are selling a billion dollars in sleep remedies to Americans, and they don’t have a fraction of YOUR access and ability to target that problem sleeper. Some category opportunities include cleaners, sleep aids, sleep pillows, and weighted blankets.
Speed is more important than ever. The pandemic taught us the value of speed. Restaurants that sped up their drive-throughs experienced outsized growth. The same holds for healthcare. Those who can find ways to do it faster and easier for the customer will continue to win more business. Speed, as a part of a business model, is a huge opportunity and needs to be on your radar as a leader.
This article was originally published in the VGM Playbook: Forecasting 2021. To read the complete article, download your copy of the playbook.