The constant innovation that we’ve seen over the last decades, both in medical technologies as well as in the types of treatments available, has meant that medical devices have improved at a rapid pace with new devices reaching the market each year for ailments that had no easy solutions before.

And so over time, the target market for these devices has also been evolving just as rapidly. So, how can we define the target market for medical devices?

The Target Market for Medical Devices includes patients, doctors, nurses, caregivers, insurance companies, hospitals, employers, and consumers.

In this article, we will review the different segments of the target market for medical devices by analyzing the benefits that each of them can get from a medical device.

The Target Market for Medical Devices: Who are they?

The market for medical devices can be segmented along many lines including the type of device, the disease treated or monitored, the type of customer, the location of use, etc.

The goal of this article is to focus on the customer.

However, when talking about the target market for medical devices we use the term “customers” fairly broadly.

For our discussion, a customer of a medical device is not just the patient who benefits from it but also those who choose the device, those who pay for it, and those who use it.

With this logic, here are the main customers of medical devices:

  1. Patients
  2. Doctors and nurses
  3. Caregivers
  4. Insurance Companies
  5. Hospitals
  6. Employers
  7. Consumers (for over-the-counter purchases)

Let’s look at each of these types of customers in detail.

1. Patients

Patients are, without question, the primary target market for medical devices. They receive medical treatment with the device and are the ones who benefit most from its use.

Depending on the type of device, patients may be able to use it at home with the help of a caregiver or they may need to go to a hospital or medical facility for treatment.

In either case, it is important that the patient is comfortable with the device and understands how to use it properly.

2. Doctors and Nurses

Doctors and nurses are the ones who prescribe the use of medical devices to patients. They are also the ones who train patients on how to use the device.

While they may be familiar with the medical condition that their patient has and have a general idea of devices in that category, they likely are not experts on every single device on the market.

As such, the manufacturer or supplier of the device should provide them with adequate training and support so that they can in turn provide their patients with the best possible care.

3. Caregivers

Many patients receive healthcare at home and will sometimes have a caregiver to help them with their day-to-day needs.

Caregivers can be family members, friends, or professional caregivers. Often caregivers might use a medical device on the patient or they may assist the patient with the device.

And so caregivers also need to be familiar with the device and may need to be trained on how to use the device. They should also have access to support from the manufacturer or supplier if they have questions.

4. Insurance Companies

Insurance companies are another important target market for medical devices. They often dictate what type of devices patients can have access to.

This is why manufacturers of medical devices need to educate insurance companies both on the benefits of the device but also on their relative costs.

They also need to understand how the use of a particular device can impact the overall cost of treatment.

5. Hospitals

Hospitals often need to purchase medical devices in bulk. Even though they may do so on the advice of the doctors who work there, the decision is ultimately made by administrators who need to consider cost and value.

For this reason, medical device manufacturers need to target hospitals with their marketing efforts. They should provide data that demonstrates both the efficacy of the device but also its cost-effectiveness.

6. Employers

In some cases, employers purchase medical devices for their employees, such as blood pressure monitors or glucose monitors.

Employers are interested in keeping their employees healthy and so they may be willing to invest in devices that help employees take care of their health.

Additionally, employers may be interested in devices that help employees manage chronic conditions or diseases so that they can stay productive at work.

7. Consumers

An important market for some types of medical devices is consumers who purchase them for personal use without a prescription.

This includes over-the-counter hearing aids, blood pressure monitors, and some diabetes supplies.

These devices are typically less expensive than those that require a prescription and so they are more accessible to consumers.

How Do Customers Choose a Medical Device?

When it comes to appealing to the target market for medical devices, device manufacturers need to think of how their customers make purchase decisions. What do they look for? What factors do they consider?

Here are the 6 key factors that most customers look for before acquiring a medical device:

  1. Usefulness
  2. Doctor’s advice
  3. Insurance coverage
  4. Out-of-pocket Expense
  5. Ease of Use
  6. Reviews

1. Usefulness

First and foremost, customers will select a device based on the medical condition that they have for which they need the device.

For example, patients who need to monitor their oxygen levels, such as those with COPD or emphysema, may look for a pulse oximeter which is a device that measures the oxygen saturation in the blood.

Similarly, patients who need to have their heart rhythms monitored may choose an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD).

So the first filter that customers use while selecting a medical device is its usefulness for their medical condition.

2. Doctor’s advice

Next, and just as important, is their doctor’s advice.

Medical devices are prescribed by doctors and so patients usually trust their doctor’s judgment when it comes to selecting a device.

In some cases, patients may have more than one option for a particular condition and so the doctor’s recommendation can help narrow down the choices.

3. Insurance coverage

For many patients, insurance coverage makes or breaks their decision while choosing a medical device.

This is because most insurance companies will only cover certain types of devices and so patients need to make sure that the device they want is covered by their insurance.

Additionally, patients may have to pay a higher co-pay for some devices than others and so this can also influence their decision.

4. Out-of-pocket expense

Linked to insurance coverage (or lack thereof), patients also need to consider the out-of-pocket expense for the device.

This includes not only the initial cost of the device but also any ongoing costs associated with it, such as batteries or replacement parts.

Patients like to make sure that they can afford the device throughout its useful life before making a purchase.

5. Ease of use

Many people who need medical devices are old and may not always be comfortable with technology. For them, ease of use can be a major factor in selecting one brand of a medical device over another.

Some devices, such as blood pressure monitors, are relatively simple to use and so patients may not need much instruction on how to operate them.

Other devices, such as insulin pumps, are more complex and so patients may want to choose a brand that is known for being easy to use.

6. Reviews

Despite a doctor’s or a nurse’s recommendation, people take comfort in knowing that others have had a good experience with the device.

This is especially true for devices that are new or relatively unknown.

Customers will often look for online reviews of medical devices before making a purchase. They will ask people they know who have used the device for their opinion. They will want to know if their experience was positive and if it has worked well for them.

And, finally, they will read any available literature on the device, such as user manuals or guides.


The target market for medical devices is not limited to patients who directly benefit from them but also includes healthcare providers like doctors and nurses, caregivers, insurance companies, hospitals, employers, and consumers who make over-the-counter purchases without a prescription.

The most important factor influencing the purchase of a medical device is the patient’s medical condition for which the device is needed.

Often, a device is recommended by a doctor but sometimes patients, on their own initiative, may purchase one over the counter. This could be a device for monitoring blood sugar, blood pressure, or even a hearing aid.

Apart from a device’s usefulness and their doctor’s advice, customers select a medical device after considering what portion of the cost will be covered by insurance, how much would they pay out-of-pocket, how easy (or not) the device is to use and what are other people saying about it.