quality indicators are for caregivers
and patients, so we can bring our
customers up the learning curve.
EH: Clinical data is vital – evi-dence-based medicine is playing a
more formal role in our industry.
Coloplast is not the low-priced
provider, so we need to provide
evidence that our performance is
greater. It’s a value proposition.
We primarily work with surgeons,
but our definition of a relationship
is having a sales person add real
value, provide educational opportunities, do some training with staff.
ES: We have evolved from being
relationship-based to helping customers see problems and solutions.
We’re gaining an understanding
of how to help them move their
thinking along, challenging long-held beliefs and habits. Rethinking
There seems to be a lot
of focus on education and
ES: Definitely. We do peer-to-peer
training, society-based training,
and develop new training approaches. We try to do much more
education in national courses, to
reduce their time commitment.
They’re less inclined to come to
us, so we go to trade shows and
society meetings, and provide raw
material for seminars. To establish
brand loyalty early, we spend time
training fellows. We also publish
on clinical sites, support research,
do public relations, and encourage
more stories about relevant topics. It’s not all just about us, but
supporting this kind of education
does benefit our brand name.
SB: Unlike medications, physicians influence the choice of this
product much more than patients,
who tend not to know brand
names. So we mentor surgeons,
provide physician search tools.
Also, we don’t have the kind of
barriers to physician access that
other companies have. There’s a
very strong relationship between
the surgeons and our reps. That
said, we also have to educate other
stakeholders: materials management personnel, procurement,
value analysis committees. And
they’re looking at different parameters: price rather than value.
We make the case with them by
indicating that our product is safer,
and has fewer complications. So
this means we also have to train
the reps to identify at each account
who are key decision makers. Every culture has its own dynamics.
RM: We branched into consulting about ten years ago, and have
about 700 hospital customers
now. This was originally around
patient injuries and a safe work
environment, and it’s expanded
ever since. We’ve averaged around
93% reduction of patient handling
injuries. We can track the cost to
hospitals or longterm care homes,
but it goes even further. This also
reduces restricted duty costs when
a patient goes back to work.
EH: In the past, you just had to
be present, now you have to add
real value. We offer surgeon-to-surgeon training and cadaver
training, because increased understanding of anatomy is critical
to success. We’re also intent on
helping patients becoming more
educated, even to brand and type
of technology. The younger patients are driven by technology
and availability of information, so
we have to be where they are.
ES: Very true. We’ve launched a
What will you have to do
patient advocacy site and notice
that some are extremely engaged,
so our outreach to them and their
feedback to us is important.
EH: We continue to develop and
provide a very high quality product. We have been voted as the best
medical device company, but that
only means we have to keep up the
pressure on ourselves to maintain
that position. We are shifting focus
to be more educational, providing clinical value rather than the
old-fashioned feature/benefit approach. Surgeons appreciate this.
ES: Stay leading-edge. It’s not clear
how navigation is changing with new
platforms and programs coming
online all the time, but if we don’t get
up the curve someone else will.
RM: Right. We have to become
smarter about using technology,
and create solutions around cost
savings. For instance, deep vein
thrombosis, or DVT, is a huge cost.
About 60,000 people die every
year from DVT. If the nurse is not
following protocol and putting
a particular patient on our DVT
product, we have software that
tracks patient records and alerts
us, so we can address that. The
software also automatically sends a
text to the physician about the risk
to the patient. We have reduced
the DVT rate by as much as 50%
with this breakthrough.
SB: More of what we’re doing.
Conducting KOL meetings, educating not just on product features
but on overall benefits. Giving
physicians the tools they need to
discuss the product with patients:
material for their websites, FAQs.
We have two branded sites they
can link to: Love YourLook.com for