Can partnering with vendors help improve outcomes?

Can partnering with vendors help improve outcomes?

In high complexity cases the surgical rep often plays an integral part during surgery. Placing new pacemakers, new knee or hip implants, or any complex device placement warrants rep involvement to help support a positive outcome.


However, in other instances and perhaps even in those mentioned above, are you getting the most value out of your vendors?


Some medical device companies may be happy enough to drop off their products and call in 6 months to make see if you are still happy. If they call back at all. Conversely, you may be just as happy if that rep never calls you back after dropping off their product. It works well as far as you can tell, and they were a little pushy anyways.


But you may be missing some of the value that they can bring. Medical device companies spend tens of millions of dollars, perhaps more, each year in order to generate evidence for their devices. Evidence helps sell products. But it also can help with your outcomes. If the evidence is sound and well collected, it could mean extra value for you and your team.


For example, if you are evaluating a new hand hygiene program you may want to dig a little deeper than just having the soap and sanitizer switched out in your dispensers. Your new vendor likely has more to offer than just soap and sanitizer. It may also have a lean six sigma program in place to help you identify the best locations in your hospital to reduce waste and improve utilization. The company may have the ability to recommend protocols you can implement in order to increase hand hygiene compliance. It could have something simpler like having free signage available to remind your staff to sanitize and wash their hands, that may add additional value for you.


Every medical device sales rep wants to be your “consultant”. Every company teaches their teams: Don’t just be a salesperson, be a consultant. Being a consultant makes medical device companies more valuable to you. Though it may not seem like it, that approach is a win for you and an opportunity to leverage the evidence and knowledge of your vendors when it comes to programs in your hospital.


Here are some questions you can ask your rep the next time you see them:


  • I have been having trouble with X, do you have any experience with your other accounts in implementing a new protocol?
  • We have really low utilization, any suggestions on how to increase it?
  • We seem to be going through a lot of product, can you help us reduce our usage?


The list goes on.


You may be thinking, “I don’t think the rep really has the expertise to help me with some of my pressing issues.”


And they may not. But if your rep works for one of the multi-million-dollar medical device companies, if they don’t have the expertise, they may have access to a team of people who would love to come and offer their services.


Medical device reps want to be consultants for you. And if you are already buying products from them, they will do it for free. It’s easy enough to filter out noise from reps who can’t help, but some of them have extensive expertise themselves or a team of experts behind them. Let the millions medical device companies spend on evidence and quality improvement projects help you with the outcomes you are looking for.

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