Opioid addiction has increased 493 percent from 2010 through 2016, according to a recent report by Blue Cross and Blue Shield, America’s opioid epidemic and its effect on the nation’s commercially-insured population. During the analysis of their own members, Blue Cross and Blue Shield also discovered that 21 percent of its commercially-insured members filled at least one opioid prescription in 2015.
While our recent report, Selling Controversial Products: Rising Above the Negativity to Find Positive Impacts, revealed that 89 percent of sales reps agree pharmaceutical sales is facing some of the toughest controversies in the sales industry, the opioid crisis is impacting the entire medical sales industry, including medical device sales.
Whether it’s due to tougher legislation or inspiration to develop new products, the staggering statistics on opioid addiction in the U.S. is changing the face of medical sales. Medical device sales companies are embracing this change by taking a new and improved approach to the opioid crisis with these new and inspiring developments:
1.Text Messaging System
One of the most groundbreaking developments in recent medical device sales technology is a new text-based service, developed by Washington University School of Medicine and Epharmix. Prior to this service, healthcare staff monitored patients’ opioid use behaviors via phone calls and monthly in-person visits.
Now, according to a recent MedGadget article, the texting system “…helps care providers to direct their effort where needed, while helping to automate and process many patients at the same time.”
The system allows patients to be monitored as frequently as daily, using text messaging to ask them how they’re feeling, stay in touch with their progress, and provide an easy, confidential way to seek help.
When a patient reports they’re struggling, the messaging system automatically sends follow-up questions. This three-tiered triage system assesses patient risk and immediately sends messages to care managers.
2. iovera system
When it comes to the opioid crisis, many people think the solution is to end the use of opioids once and for all. Myoscience’s iovera system is taking steps toward this goal by targeting pain without the use of drugs. Instead, iovera blocks pain using the body’s natural response to cold.
This type of pain management, called cryoablation therapy, applies targeted cold to a peripheral nerve, immediately preventing the nerve from sending any more pain signals. Liquid nitrous oxide, contained within the device, is delivered at a high speed down a closed-end needle. It then undergoes a phase change, which draws in heat energy from the surrounding tissue to create a precise zone of cold to treat the targeted nerve.
With this new technology, patients recovering from surgery, or those who are in chronic pain, will find opioid-free relief.
3. MOD – Oral PCA Device
Drug-free pain management works for some, however, opioids continue to be used for pain management. For medical device sales company Avancen, this meant tackling the issue of not being able to effectively and efficiently monitor a patient’s opioid intake.
To do this, the company invented The MOD, an oral PCA device. This secure, wireless PCA holds up to eight doses of pain medication and is safely locked onto an IV pole, allowing patients to easily reach the device.
Each patient receives a radio frequency identification wristband that’s registered through MOD, allowing clinicians to order medication and prescribe lock-out time intervals. Patients can then access their next dose of pain medication and staff can be assured they’re not receiving a dosage of opioids that will put them at a higher risk for addiction.
4. Neuro-Stim System Bridge
Arguably, the most controversial of the new opioid management technologies is the Neuro-Stim System Bridge (NSS-2 Bridge). The first of its kind to be approved by the FDA, the NSS-2 Bridge is used to help reduce the symptoms of opioid withdrawal
The new device attaches to skin behind the ear and uses a chip to transmit electrical pulses that stimulate four cranial nerves in the part of the brain that’s associated with processing pain information.
While the FDA is unsure of how effective the NSS-2 Bridge will be, a recent trial showed, “64 out of 73 patients, or 88 percent, successfully transitioned away from opioids after five days of using the Bridge,” according to Futurism.com.
What other medical sales companies are turning the opioid crisis around? Let us know!