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With remote collaboration technology, busy device representatives can “be there” for diverse accounts across growing territories

The flow of non-urgent interventions from hospitals and outpatient facilities presents an opportunity and challenge for medical device representatives: how to best serve a growing customer base, from healthcare systems to outpatient operation centers (ASCs) to office laboratories (OBLs) over wide geographic areas.

An emerging solution is allowing device representatives to meet the needs of their accounts using remote collaboration technology to complement face-to-face visits with virtual visits. The pioneering technology company Avail Medsystems offers the Avail System. It enables device representatives to support accounts at remote locations, handle emergencies, train physicians in the use of new products, and offer a rapid exchange of medical expertise.

The Avail system enables live streams from the operating room to the iPads or computers of remote workers. Equipped with high resolution video cameras and surgical imaging inputs, Avail’s proprietary HIPPA-HITECH platform enables representatives and industry experts to participate in a procedure, change camera angles and distances, monitor imaging, communicate and interact with the operating physician and staff and share their screens.

“Using the Avail system has enabled me to provide greater customer service and more efficient product launches, resulting in better patient care,” said Josh Blount, an area manager for Rapid Medical neurovascular surgical devices. “Avail is a win-win situation for the entire process-related ecosystem. It represents the future, and device representatives have to get in or be left behind. “

New trend, new challenges

Medicare, based on recent advances in technology, engineering, and safety, has determined that certain procedures no longer require hospitalization. As a result, the device representatives see their territory enriched by outpatient facilities. From cardiovascular services to spinal surgery to joint replacements, a variety of procedures are routinely performed by the country’s 9,200 ASCs and 700 OBLs.

This is why medical technology companies are researching digital solutions such as the Avail system, with which field staff can “attend” cases from anywhere.

“Avail gives us the ability to be ‘personal’ with our accounts without the time and expense of travel,” said Blount. “We remain trusted allies who can assist you if a problem arises during an intervention. This technology allows us to contact and help even while waiting on another account’s campus to personally help with an operation is far more useful than traveling to an out-of-state facility and then waiting for an emergency procedure pending so that we can carry out device training. “

This type of situational coverage can mean the difference between a smooth process and a rocky process when equipment representatives are present but unable to be physically present – especially during emergency procedures when immediate travel is typically not possible but assistance is critical.

Richard Markiewicz, MD, an interventional cardiologist at the Great Plains Health Heart Institute in North Platte, Nebraska, used the Avail System to prevent leg amputation during a vascular procedure. Despite its rural location, Dr. Markiewicz concurrently with a device rep in Omaha and Jon George, MD, MBA, an interventional cardiologist at the University of Pennsylvania, to resolve the issue.

“It was a great demonstration of how Philadelphia can be 3 seconds away instead of 1,500 miles with Avail technology,” said Dr. Markiewicz. “With no representatives for the device companies that live in North Platte, we were often alone or only had the opportunity to connect with them through FaceTime. It was on that call that I said for the first time: This is what it feels like to have a representative in town. “

With connection comes education

In addition to providing case support, device representatives can act as intermediaries in the educational process. The Avail system enables representatives to answer questions about devices by quickly connecting doctors intraoperatively with key opinion leaders who can virtually demonstrate and discuss tools. Facilities can also use live streaming technology to train staff to use new equipment. Equally important is that representatives from the device manufacturer can give their colleagues from the device manufacturer “front row” access to clinical procedures so that they can identify process gaps and make product improvements.

Ultimately, remote collaboration technology is a solution with a number of advantages for device representatives. With a changed environment for many types of operations, coupled with growing, geographically expansive areas, the Avail system offers agents the opportunity to “be there” like never before. In this way, device manufacturers can increase their customer reach and support, and help doctors learn faster and share their expertise so they can provide great care for their patients.

This is an excerpt from a longer whitepaper entitled “With Remote Collaboration Technology, busy device representatives can be ‘there’ for different accounts in growing areas”.

To view the full paper, Click here.