Americans have spoken about the quality of healthcare — and their outlook isn’t encouraging. Unfortunately, only 54 percent rated the quality of healthcare in the U.S. as excellent/good, that’s the lowest ratings since 2012 according to a 2017 Gallup poll.
Along with this low rating comes a hard hit from a new Netflix documentary ‘The Bleeding Edge.’ The popular documentary is bringing scrutiny to the medical device field by claiming the FDA isn’t doing its job in ensuring these devices are safe for the public.
As a dedicated medical sales rep, you put your passions and an extraordinary amount of time into selling products. But when negative news like the above stat and documentary hit, a critical question comes to light: in the medical sales industry, whose job is it to ensure products on the market are safe, and both doctors and patients are fully informed of all risks?
Of course, preventing products from getting to market too quickly isn’t all on medical sales reps’ shoulders. However, there are ways you can without a doubt believe in what you’re selling and are providing doctors with the most accurate information to give patients.
Here’s the role medical sales reps can play in making the healthcare world a safer, more trusted place:
Know the research and approval process
Research and approval processes aren’t always airtight. The 501(k) pathway, for example, was created so manufacturers could obtain approval if they proved their device was “substantially equivalent” to another device already on the market.
Unfortunately, many medical devices are being placed on the market using this as a loophole, rather than an exception. This creates various issues with promising products that aren’t quite ready for public use, resulting in harmful side effects.
Before medical sales reps introduce products to clients, it’s important they first understand the products’ journey and background before it got to market. Knowing the approval process, it went through to reach their sales desk, and their company’s research and development process is the best place to start. By taking these extra steps, reps can ensure they’re prepared to be fully transparent with clients.
Make consumers the experts
Respondents in a recent McKinsey report repeatedly indicated that they want to be good healthcare consumers. While they want to make informed choices about the care received, most said that they do not believe it can be done today.
Consumers wanting to be their own health advocates is just one of the reasons education is so important. Most medical sales reps are actually on the same page. In fact, the majority of medical sales reps (94 percent) in our team’s report Selling Controversial Products: Rising Above the Negativity to Find Positive Impacts agree a lack of proper education impacts their sales.
Create educational materials that include all side effects, potential risks, how the product entered the market, and any research and development findings to empower clients to educate their patients fully. By putting the decision-making power in their consumers’ hands, sales reps allow them to make informed and confident decisions. Remember, the more informed and confident patients are, the happier clients will be moving forward with reps’ products.
Put yourself in consumers’ shoes
Today’s technological world doesn’t allow much wiggle room for error of any size. Consumer Safety’s online network and social media sites make every bit of news instantly public.
While this can be frustrating, especially when information is skewed, it’s the public’s way of taking control of their healthcare. Consumers feel they’re performing a civic duty to improve healthcare when putting their experiences out there for others to see and share.
If a medical sales rep is concerned their product is getting to market too quickly, it’s essential to open up and listen to consumers’ former experiences. Understanding the side effects and issues from other products will help medical sales reps compare to their own. A quality comparison helps them be more open and upfront with clients about their product and what issues patients may have.
Be an advocate
This one can’t be stressed enough because medical sales reps are the ‘face’ of their products. As advocates, conversations with clients shouldn’t end in the medical office.
If clients express concerns about a product getting to market before it’s ready, reps should take those points back to their team. This creates a company-wide open discussion that will not just address concerns but will also enhance products.
What are you doing to ensure only the best products get to market? Let us know!