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Design | 6th April 2017

Are you NHS Ready?

Read Time: 3 minutes


There are numerous challenges and complexities that come with breaking into the healthcare market, especially the NHS.  Before doing anything, ask yourself if you are NHS ready:

  • Do you have a product or service that is viable?
  • Do you have someone who will buy it?
  • Does a commissioner looking at your product or service, have a way of embedding it into their plans?

Onyx Health and Morris Healthcare Consulting Ltd have teamed-up to compile their 7 top insights to help healthcare start-up’s or small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) looking to work with the NHS.

Click here to read our infographic and see if your commercial strategy is on the right track to sell to the NHS.

You may find some surprising, but supportive tips. 

Regulatory approval

Healthcare innovators often wonder what regulatory approval their innovation needs, but some will assume their innovation does not require any regulatory approval.

Digital health products and apps are innovations, which are commonly overlooked, but all medical devices and in-vitro diagnostic tests need to have a CE Mark, including many digital health products and apps.

Marketing strategy

Developing your marketing strategy is essential in gaining NHS adoption and generating sales.

Take the time to understand your target market and how commissioning works –

  • What are the demands, needs or priorities of the service you are selling into?
  • Have you identified the role procurement will play in your journey?
  • Have you assessed the clinical need?

You may want to consider a SWOT analysis to evaluate your commercial proposition.

Your marketing strategy should recognise, which NHS clinical pathway your innovation fits in and identify how your product meets the customers’ needs.

Market presence

It can be easy to skip branding or do something quick, easy and cheap.  In the long run, this will be counter-productive for your growth.

Creating a strong brand will define your business and exemplify your business values.  This will create a platform to showcase the benefits to why your product should be adopted.

Key messages are the foundation to all your communication and will help your customers to understand your innovation.  Keep them clear and concise – remember they’ll often be required for multiple audiences.

If you’re going to invest in marketing, getting your brand spot on from the start is crucial.  Your customers need to understand your innovation and know who you are.

Medical education

If you want your innovation to be adopted by a wider audience, you need to ensure your customers know:

  • How your innovation works?
  • Where your innovation fits in the NHS clinical pathway?
  • How your innovation is used?

Implementing activities that educate clinicians can help to drive forward changes in clinical practice.

Strong networks

Strategic relationships with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) and other stakeholders, such as ‘product champions’ are vital in each stage of a product or service lifecycle.

KOLs will help to capture the benefits of your innovation.  Being able to recognise and capture these benefits will provide you with valuable evidence, which decision-makers look for.

KOL relationships should be established from the beginning.  KOLs use their influence to shape the market for you, providing support for your product or service in clinical practice.  This will generate your champions, who will openly encourage and support the uptake of your product and service.

Business case

While you must demonstrate the benefits of your innovation, firstly you need to ask yourself:

  • Are you speaking with the decision maker?
  • Can you present evidence to show value beyond the clinical need?
  • Does your cost model help generate cost efficiencies for the NHS organisation?

Your business case must be able to convince the NHS organisation that it is worth evaluating your innovation.

Successful sales

Once good marketing has done its work, there is an assumption sales easily follow.  Good marketing will present an offer that meets the customers’ needs, in the right place and at the right time, but it will not generate the sale.

Just like marketing, successful sales involves planning – this will maximise your opportunities, help overcome the limitations of being in a big, competitive market and give your sales team direction.

Never underestimate the time it takes for a sale to be made and remember NHS adoption is not all about getting a ‘NICE recommendation’.

Selling into the NHS takes hard work and strong determination.  It is important to remember that the NHS is a marketplace and not a single market, so each Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) / Trust needs to be treated differently – NHS England works differently from their counterparts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Speaking to the right people and identifying the right organisations may feel like looking for a needle in a haystack.  Unfortunately, don’t expect to find any shortcuts.


Find out more information by contacting us.

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