In a recent article, Cafepharma.com broke down a study that explored the role that medical device reps play in surgical procedures. The study refers to a survey in which 88% of medical device reps reported they had provided verbal instructions to surgical teams during a procedure. This raised concerns with many, because it doesn’t fit in with our commonly held narrative of how surgery happens and our perception of surgeons and their expertise.

 

As a follow-up piece, Cafepharma interviewed a veteran rep to get his perspective on the rep’s role and the concerns some people have about it. It’s a fascinating little interview. Here’s just a piece:

“I assist in some way in virtually 100 percent of the surgeries I am in… I have probably told surgeons to stop over a thousand times because a step in the procedure is about to be skipped… I frequently tell the tech which tool they need to hand the surgeon when they are about to hand the wrong one… The doctors want you to help when necessary. And if the procedure is not a success, the device or the rep will often get the blame. You have to know what you are doing, and you have to be willing to speak up.”

While reps are usually trained experts on the devices they are selling, they are not doctors. That means that the training they receive and the tools they have at their disposal can have a tremendous effect on surgical outcomes. Those tools include the mobile sales aids and training materials we produce for our clients in the medical device industry.

What do we do to help lead to the best possible outcomes? We make sure to incorporate compelling and effective instructional processes that help doctors learn how to use the devices properly. When possible, we utilize tactile learning methods like augmented or virtual reality applications that help surgeons become acquainted with devices before they use them and the related procedures before they perform them. We ensure that our tools provide reps and their doctor clients with accurate information presented in a way that is easily absorbed.

Whatever your thoughts about the crucial role that reps play in our current surgical system, I think we can all agree that since they are playing that role, we need to empower them to perform that role in the most effective way possible. We’re proud of the way the assets we develop contribute positively to getting the best possible outcomes for patients.