Med-Tech Innovation News spoke to ExplORer Surgical CEO Jennifer Fried following its COVID-19 Survey.
Its survey found that:
- Less than 20% of medical device reps are able to cover cases in person. This is either due to hospital restrictions, personal concern about exposure to the novel Coronavirus, or companies wanting to mitigate risk for their employees.
- More than 70% of life science reps are remotely supporting their customers through video, phone or some combination of the two.
- Live case proctoring and in field training causes great concern for medtech executives with 92% of them worried about what this will look like post-COVID 19.
- It is unlikely that virtual interaction will ever take the place of face-to-face support and training, but it will likely be a marriage of virtual and in-person case support. In fact, 93% of the respondents said hospital access will not be the same in a post-COVID-19 world for the near and long-term.
Less than 20% of medical device reps are able to cover cases in person, what are the possible effects of this?
There are a few reasons for this:
- Travel was limited (both travel policies and flight schedules);
- Limited access to PPE;
- Few companies wanted to put reps in harm’s way;
- Hospitals didn’t want reps in OR’s bc of the risk for greater infection;
- 20% were allowed in bc of the critical nature of the procedure and their role in it;
- Many elective cases were cancelled.
Has the industry easily adapted to remote support?
Change is difficult for everyone. The nature of physician/industry relationships has been largely in-person and the OR/procedure suites are perhaps the slowest to adopt new technology due to the intensive nature of care. However, technology has become more broadly accepted in every part of life in the past several months and we expect that to continue to apply to surgery.
What are the worries that have been reported regarding field training and live case proctoring?
- Difficulty getting reps adequately trained due to limited amount of cases that can be observed – travel, hospital access;
- Challenges getting proctors to cases to train new physicians;
- Nuances of training people on a complex device without having enough hands-on training.
What do you think interaction looks like in the long-term for the industry?
- Greater adoption of digital tools;
- More AR for hands on training;
- Relationship based selling will require incorporating tech into “best in class” support.