The flow of non-emergent procedures out of hospitals and into outpatient facilities has created an opportunity and a challenge for medical device representatives: how best to serve a growing account roster, from healthcare systems to ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) and office-based labs (OBLs), spread across broad geographic areas.
An emerging solution allows device representatives to meet their accounts’ demands using remote collaboration technology to supplement in-person visits with virtual ones. Pioneering technology company, Avail Medsystems, offers the Avail System. It allows device representatives to support accounts in remote locations, attend emergent cases, train physicians for new product use and offer quick medical expertise sharing.
The Avail System enables live streams from the operating room to remote collaborators’ iPads or computers. Equipped with high-definition video cameras and surgical imaging inputs, Avail’s HIPPA-HITECH protected platform allows representatives and industry professionals to “join” a procedure, change camera angles and distances, monitor imaging, communicate and interact with the operating practitioner and staff and share their screens.
“Using the Avail System has allowed me to provide more comprehensive customer service and more efficient product launches, leading to better care for patients,” said Josh Blount, a territory manager for neurovascular surgical device company Rapid Medical. “Avail is a win-win for the entire procedural ecosystem. It represents the future, and device representatives need to get on board or be left behind.”
New Trend, New Challenges
Medicare determined that certain procedures no longer require hospitalization, based on recent advancements in technology, technique and safety. As a result, device representatives are seeing their territories enriched by outpatient facilities. From cardiovascular services to spine surgeries to joint replacements, a variety of procedures are routinely performed by the nation’s 9,200 ASCs and 700 OBLs.
Consequently, medical technology companies are exploring digital solutions like the Avail System, which can enable field representatives to “attend” cases from wherever they are.
“Avail gives us a way to be ‘in person’ with our accounts without the time and cost associated with travel,” Mr. Blount said. “We remain trusted allies who can provide support if a problem arises during a procedure. This technology allows us to make contact and help out, even while we’re waiting on the campus of another account to assist in person with a surgery. And it makes a lot more sense than traveling to a facility out of state and then waiting around until an emergent procedure comes up so we can give device training.”
This kind of situational coverage can mean the difference between a smooth procedure and a rocky one when device representatives are called upon to be present but cannot be there physically – particularly during emergency procedures, when immediate travel is typically not possible, yet support is critical.
Richard Markiewicz, MD, an interventional cardiologist with Great Plains Health Heart Institute in North Platte, Nebraska, used the Avail System …….