The pandemic isn’t over, and medical device PR must ride the wave to remain relevant

Few types of companies stand to benefit from the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, like delivery, ecommerce, and app-based communications companies. However, the kind of companies that have an opportunity to grow and also make a real difference in the world are often in the medical device space. Of course, not all are. A company that produces pacemakers is not really more likely to be in better standing during the thick of the pandemic than before it. A company that produces ventilators for hospitals? Well, that’s a different story.

The media is riding the COVID-19 wave, so should PR

The COVID-19 pandemic has become impossible to avoid, and has become an integral part of our daily routine: wearing a mask, avoiding crowded places, and bathing our hands in alcogel. The media has responded accordingly. While reporters, news agencies, and TV networks cover a wide variety of topics, if an item is not news-y or lacks timeliness, then it’s unlikely to be of interest. Coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated exactly that. Most news agencies have been seeking the COVID-19 angle regarding medical stories, too. Public relations campaigns have had to follow suit.

The key is to find ways to attach oneself to this wave of COVID-19 coverage. So, for example, a company pitching a reporter a story about a product unrelated to the pandemic is unlikely to get traction with a reporter. Conversely, a news story about a company that ties very strongly to COVID-19 will likely get far more attention and generate PR leads. 

How has COVID-19 affected the medical device industry?

Just like the media has followed suit in covering a lot of COVID-19 and related stories, so too have businesses been forced to adapt, especially medical tech. As they say, “Necessity is the mother of invention,” so medical companies have not just adapted to the circumstances, but they’ve been forced to innovate. Take medical imaging diagnostic and patient management solution companies as examples. Many of them have worked on developing products that can help hospitals and clinics either manage patient load and ventilator needs and distribution or tools to help diagnose patients for signs of COVID-19 or its progression.

How the medical device PR strategy should shift

As the media coverage and medtech companies shifted, so did medical device PR. Companies’ stories immediately moved from a variety of products to one focus: How do push or create products that will benefit people during COVID-19 or how they are still sellable despite social restrictions. That is the end goal for med tech PR campaigns, which successful medical device PR agencies will be able to swing. 

For example, a medtech company dealing with diabetes patients cannot necessarily directly impact the healthcare industry’s management of the coronavirus. However, on the other hand, the effects of the pandemic have consequences for people with diabetes. People with diabetes are at higher risk for complications if infected so they are confined to their homes more than others, and therefore would require virtual treatment-a biproduct of the pandemic’s social distancing restrictions. A medical device, app, or technological solution might not be a tool that cures or solves some sort of problem directly related to treatment or prevention, but many products have correlation to the virus or its effects on the world. The key is finding a way to connect the product to the news story, and that’s what a health tech PR firm has to do.