"We don't need no education, we don't need no thought control, no dark sarcasm in the classroom, teachers leave them kids alone, Hey Joint Commission, leave them kids alone."
In 2009, TSB wrote an article regarding hospitals charging salespeople for credentialing in order to gain access to the operating room. Yet, there has been a recent uproar within the industry over sales rep credentialing, meaning, salespeople must be trained and certified in understanding operating room and HIPAA protocol. This includes standards in how to behave in the O.R., being inoculated for bloodborne pathogens, respecting patient privacy, understanding aseptic technique, in addition to being knowledgeable with regards to the instruments and implants that the surgeon is using. Interestingly, there seems to be the illusion in the industry that sales people in general provide education, service and collaboration on all levels. It may be argued that the people representing the spine cartel are more apt to be educated and trained on standards when comparing them to some of the independent distributors that work on a daily basis in the operating room.
Many years ago, the salesperson played an integral role interacting with the surgeon, especially, when it came to developing new ideas into functional products or emerging technologies. Usually, the salesperson was the conduit performing due diligence before an engineering team was brought in. As the industry became saturated with commodity products, the entire strategic objective of early growth stage companies was to generate quick revenue at whatever expense there was associated with a new distributor. So who is to blame for all these ridiculous mandates? The government? The facility? The Joint Commission? The AORN? The early growth stage companies that have acted irresponsibly, placing no value on training and focusing only on revenue (TSB is excluding companies with so called emerging technologies)? Somewhere along the way we have lost all sense and sensibility. If the company you represent is required to have product liability insurance, and you are trained by the company, why should a rep be required to acquire their own insurance? Because some lawyer said so?
Some surgeons have argued that they have a sense of security when a company representative is available in the O.R..... Yet, TSB must ask the question, why would anyone want a surgeon operating on them if they did not know how to use the tools of their trade? Would Slash have been the lead guitarist for Guns N' Roses if he wasn't a virtuoso? Maybe the reason sales people need training, and surgeons need a pacifier, is because no one takes the time to get to know the nuances of a system. Could it be that many believe that a screw is a screw, and, a plate is a plate? Regardless, if there are over 500 pedicle screws, each system has its own footprint. Would you get into a 777 and take a transpacific flight if the pilot was not capable of navigating the plane without a flight instructor?
Since when did we make selling and servicing so complex? If you have common sense, you can be a valuable asset, if you don't, there's no hope. Selling is an art. Do your due diligence. Understand hospital protocol, and get to know all the key players. If you have no business in the operating room, don't be hanging around, especially when the day is starting and patients are being prepped in the pre-op area. If it is mandatory to sign in, sign in. Be respectful of the rules until you are given an invitation to the party. Your role is not only to show up for the case and make money, your job is to educate the staff on your instruments and implants. The smarter they are, the less they will depend on you, providing you with the time to make new sales calls. Don't overlook the people in central services because they are just as curious as others in understanding your instruments and implants. A little bit of attention can go a long way, especially if you are bouncing sets around from one account to another. If you are in the operating room, get to know everyone and identify the role they play during the procedure. This includes understanding the flow of the procedure and the surgeon's tendencies. The surgeon is the conductor and you are a piece to the orchestra. Lastly, the most important part of your job is to get to know all the people that make key financial decisions that could potentially effect your business or opportunities within that account. If you are going to consider yourself a businessman, then start acting like one, it just may save your a**. TSB wants to know what our readers think?
All in all it's just another brick in the wall..............