A client came to us to help her sell a groundbreaking device. While generally safe, one of the most known risks with MRI machines is the “projectile effect”—when magnetic objects on or inside a patient (such as a pacemaker) will be forcefully thrown or pulled by the magnet. Some estimates put the strength of MRI magnets at tens of thousands of times the strength of the Earth's magnetic field. There have been incidents where a police officer’s gun was sucked from his holster, slammed against the MRI machine's bore, and went off, firing a round into the wall. There was even a sprinkler repairman whose acetylene tank was yanked inside, breaking its valve and starting a fire that razed the building.
Our client had designed a device that could not only detect metal—but different types of metal. It could be used at the entrance to the MRI room to prevent accidents from happening. It was portable, adaptable, and could tell the difference between a wheelchair and a necklace. However, it could also tell the difference between a wheelchair and a gun, so although she had designed a medical device, its highest sales were to prisons and airports. So why did she have trouble selling a life-saving safety device to hospitals and MRI centers?
The device hadn’t yet received coverage. The FDA had approved the device, but they hadn’t gone through the process of getting it covered. The break-even point was $82,000, which was simply too much for hospitals and facilities, many of which were non-profits. She had sold it to a few who could afford it for $50,000, but she wanted to expand her market and make this device accessible to more centers.
That’s when we were brought in. We crafted a strategy, went through the coverage and coding process, and turned that into a marketing strategy. Once coded (and therefore reimbursable), she was able to sell the device for $750,000 to thousands of end-users. The company was now able to reach the medical market, for which it had originally been designed for, while maintaining its use in security facilities around the world. Without coverage, none of that would have been possible.