Business turnaround

Infusing new growth into a first-of-its-kind neuromodulation product

What they were facing

A company created the first deep brain stimulation (DBS) system to treat Parkinson’s disease.

The procedure was performed in academic medical centers around the country. Initially, this created a steady source of patients for implantation who were already in the care of academic neurologists.

Over time, more patients found their way to the academic centers by self-referring for evaluation for the procedure. Additionally, a limited number of community neurologists sometimes referred patients. This model worked for several years, with a steady increase in patient volume.

Then in Year 6, post-launch, procedures declined 8%.

How we helped

We assembled and analyzed market information to better understand why the flow of patients had been reduced. We learned the following:

  • Early DBS growth had been heavily fueled by a small segment of aggressive patients who had pursued DBS on their own.
  • Unfortunately, 75% of those patients had already been implanted by Year 6.
  • Most Parkinsons’ disease patients required persuasion from their neurologist.
  • But only 14% of community neurologists consistently referred candidates for the procedure
  • We also learned that community neurologists were concerned over the safety and efficacy of the procedure, were unclear on appropriate patient selection, and lacked trust in the academic centers

The clear finding was that with an ever-shrinking group of aggressive patients, future growth would have to come from community neurologist referrals.
So we devised a major shift in strategy focused on the concerns and needs of community neurologists with associated plans and resources:

  • Reversed the resource allocation from ⅔ on direct-to-patient marketing and practice development to ⅔ on community neurologist adoption.
  • Developed an end-to-end customer-experience for community neurologists that included a new patient selection tool, peer-to-peer training on patient selection and management, and new clinical support resources.
  • Engaged academic centers to build better communications and relationships with community neurologists.


Delivered 20% turnaround in new patient growth in the U.S. in just one year, reversing an 8% decline and driving a 12% increase