Rep-less operating room to curb costly implant prices

thevalueequationConsolidation in the medtech market is likely to have an effect on jobs of sales reps as combined companies look for synergies and reduce overlapping skill sets.

But another development may make the job of the manufacturer’s rep – those with more technical expertise – much harder in the future.

Some hospitals and health systems are considering going rep-less to reduce costs in the operating room for implant surgeries, according to Dotmed Daily News.

This is not going to be easy given the historically close relationship between surgeons and sales reps, but the move to value-based healthcare and the emphasis on cost reduction may well see health sytems take on this cost-containment strategy.

As the article notes, it is estimated that ” as much as 40 percent of premium-priced orthopedic implant costs are sales costs — associated with the actual sale rather than with the value of the device.”

Hospitals are looking to replace some of the technical expertise that a manufacturer’s rep can bring to the operating room by training surgical first assistants. And they are also looking to use FDA-cleared cheaper devices that don’t have the bells and whistles of a complex implant made by major device vendors but are similar in terms of clinical outcomes for patients…

So there appear to be real benefits for hospitals and health systems to reduce their reliance on manufacturers’ sales reps.

While these changes won’t occur overnight, it’s probably not a bad idea for device sales reps to build new skills to remain relevant in the new value-based healthcare paradigm.

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