Hazardous Drug Detection for Employee Safety


RG+A was engaged by a global device manufacturer to help determine market response to a potential new device for testing for the presence of trace hazardous drugs in hospital pharmacies and infusion areas. The client sought to determine whether to continue development of the product and in what form. Also, the research needed to determine drivers and barriers to use, pricing constraints and the existence of any segments that could help narrow targets for outreach and promotion. In the research, RG+A tested adoption and usage rates for Version 1 and Version 2 of the device. RG+A conducted telephone-based, web enabled interviews with key pharmacy directors, nursing directors and hospital based safety officers, and incorporated the findings into a Monte Carlo model. The model showed that >75% of all test volume will come from a small number of heavy users who consider themselves “definite” to use Product X. Also, if the estimate includes hospitals considered “less than certain” to adopt, 75-80% of all tests come from hospitals that test more than once per week. Qualitatively, RG+A established the likely uptake for Version 1 in certain hospitals, that 20% of hospitals were more likely to adopt Version 2 and the relative barriers to adoption and uptake for each version.


RG+A’s client was developing a first to market technology for detecting the presence of hazardous drugs on surfaces, was facing a decision as to whether and how to proceed with development of their product. It was critical to the client that the team understood fully the anticipated ROI for each product iteration both at adoption and, more importantly, for ongoing usage for multiple drugs, as each testing cartridge would be purchased for a one-time use. RG+A was engaged to assess the market potential for each version of the device, including forecasting peak revenue, and identifying key sensitivities and market strategies that might impact the potential for consistent or increased testing over time.


To address the client’s objectives, RG+A conducted 72 telephone-based, web enabled interviews with key stakeholders who had the greatest decision making and influencing authority to drive or inhibit product adoption and usage – pharmacy directors, nursing directors and safety officers with responsibility for employee safety and health. These interviews focused on hazardous drug usage, surface exposure, current decontaminating and testing practices, understanding of regulations and guidelines, and response to the new offerings. Also, the research explored the likely frequency and range of testing with those who would or might adopt the device. After identifying key behavior drivers and sensitivities, RG+A constructed a market model to simulate likely product uptake and use scenarios.

Key Challenges

  1.  Device feature limitations in the first iteration
  2.  Lack of regulations
  3.  Limited concern about guidelines
  4.  Cost/benefit analysis that could limit usage even after adoption

How the Design Addressed the Challenges

  1.  Qualitative interviews with all critical stakeholders to understand how costs and employee safety concerns would be balanced in critical decision making settings
  2.  In-depth exploration covering potential adoption scenarios, drivers and barriers, and detailed assessment of likely frequency of use (the biggest potential revenue source) over time
  3.  Monte Carlo modeling synthesized inputs from qualitative interviews, tightened confidence in results, and identified key sensitivities to market success


The research showed moderate adoption for Version 1 with some increase for Version 2. However, 14% of all adopters would represent >75% of all use going forward. The model identified 4 sets of issues that would shape the actual unit volume for both versions: number of drugs tested, number of surfaces test, testing frequency and adoption by heavy users that collectively accounted for >85% of the model sensitivity. Qualitatively, RG+A determined that promoting the concept of surface testing was more of a critical driver to adoption than specific product features, once the critical basic features were included.


RG+A recommended that the client continue development of the device. To support the pathway for success of the product at launch, RG+A recommended the client focus not only on pharmacy decision makers, but also key influencers such as nurses who would be the strongest advocates for the device and frequency of usage, supporting education efforts regarding regulations and guidelines, optimal pricing range for test disposables, and educational outreach (directly or indirectly) regarding specific health issues for employees exposed long term to highly toxic agents.


RG+A’s findings will drive the internal client team in recommending production and promotion action going forward.