When we think about surgery, we think about doctors, operating rooms or patients, we usually don’t think about ‘business’. Truth is, surgery is a complex business.
‘Which market development will increase my sales numbers the most?’
It’s not a question many would immediately associate with surgery. But given the gargantuan size of the global medical devices industry – rumoured to be in excess of $400 bn, and set to increase to $600 bn over the next few years – hospital procurement and purchasing professionals are right to be mindful of costs; but they cannot compromise patient needs or safety.
The knock-on effect is that device manufacturers are often under pressure to drive down costs too. However, for increasingly time-stretched device specialists and busy surgeons; the financial bottom line should be the least of their concerns.
So is there a way to balance the costs, increase sales, improve efficiency, and promote safety? For all parties? Absolutely.
Expert Engineering Doesn’t Come Cheap
Product integrity is paramount. That’s a given. The medical devices used in surgeries are reassuringly expensive. But that’s because they’re precision-machined to perfection. They also often use speciality metals and materials that have the right combination of strength, flexibility, and durability.
In addition, artificial prosthetics – such as hip or knee joints – must not only be anatomically accurate; they need to be designed for easy insertion. They have to be when they’re used in invasive procedures. And considering the increased complexity and sophistication of the tools being used before, during, and after surgery;
Impact On-Time Constraints
In the operating theatre (OT) itself, the surgeon is, without a shadow of a doubt, the installation expert. However, the device sales rep remains the product specialist.
Their advice is often critical to any surgery. They need to physically present in each hospital they supply to ahead of surgery to ensure that the surgeon has a thorough understanding of the product.
While device manufacturers will have reps covering specific geographies, in a region as large as Western Europe, the distances can be vast. And, given that most hospitals schedule surgeries for the beginning of the week, a device sales rep cannot be everywhere at once.
Time Is Money
Then, of course, there’s the cost of having product specialists spending time at a hospital. A visit can cost, on average, around $500 per specialist – when you factor in all of the typical procedures and challenges impacting each surgery; such as waiting times and emergencies that can push a scheduled surgery back.
Now imagine what the cost would be of flying in a specialist into a remote location – for what’s essentially a 15-minute conversation. Telephone calls alone just aren’t sufficient. Not when so much of the consultation relies on a discussion about something that all parties need to see in real-time.
An Innovation That Adds Value All Round
From a commercial perspective, it’s clear that employing more product specialists isn’t the answer – for manufacturers or hospitals. Not when you consider the hours of device training needed and the high salary they command.
That’s why we created our customized smart glasses specifically for medical professionals – to meet these challenges. The monthly cost of our smart glasses is around the same as a single specialist’s visit. And instead of needing them to be close by before surgery, they can be in the same room as the surgeon – virtually – and use our tech to review placement and offer advice on-demand.
This way, device manufacturers can also ensure their specialists can service multiple locations for the exact amount of time needed; something that will also effectively enable them to grow their client base and increase profit.
Where hospitals are concerned they are no longer reliant on specialist’s availability, nor do they need to schedule surgeries to suit. And from a surgeon’s – and ultimately a patient’s – perspective, more on-tap expertise ensures that they maintain control throughout, but have the ability to dial-in experts and other surgeons when needed.
So ultimately, from a sales and cost perspective, we’d say that’s a successful outcome for all.