New thinking in the COVID economy.

Read – Early TRENDS in the new COVID orthopedic world

I am just one person and an individual recruiter, but I am trying to help my friends in device companies through this difficult time. 

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been talking with many orthopedic leaders during this strange time of cancelled procedures.  Leaders are scrambling to figure out what to do and most are laying out contingency plans. 

During this temporary crisis, leaders must play both defense and offense.

Sorry, I have no advice for your defensive game. In a nutshell, you must plan for worst case scenarios and reset your expense line to first take care of your employees, customers and investors.

However, I do have some advice for your offensive game that involves some new thinking in a C19 world.

If you are asking… How to return a device company back to normal? This is the wrong question.

You should be asking… How can a device company morph to be competitive in the new COVID world?

3 quick points and some challenge questions for you.

Point #1 – The procedure rebound will come.

After we pass through the abyss with peak infections around mid-April, there will be a BIG rebound.  Elective cases will rebound with a boom at some time in the near future. Nobody knows when the boom will happen but here is the best guess from the OrthoStreams community at this point.

Point #2 – Use this time to clarify

Business adversity is clarifying. It’s a good time for some soul searching.

Orthopedic companies should use this time to refocus and crystalize on what your true value is. Get lean. Get skinny. Refine your organization and how you deliver your services. Do you sell implants or pain relief? Do you sell drills or holes in bones? What is your secret sauce that separates you from your competition? Can your models for selling and servicing be improved?

Point #3 – Rethink your business models to be more competitive in a C19 world.

Please understand this. 

When hospitals and ASCs come back online 100%, there will be permanent changes in orthopedics.  

Remember after 9-11… airports changed the security protocols FOREVER, because the terrorist threat was in the airports.

After C19… hospitals will change their protocols for how they deliver healthcare and how they work with orthopedic device companies FOREVER, because hospitals are the front lines for the war on COVID.

Hospitals will be changed forever. They will change the way they interact with your company and your reps with new physical distancing and surface contamination. Your reps will not cruise in and out of the hospital because they have a great relationship with the surgeon and have good standing on Reptrax. There will be separate sections within hospitals for COVID positive orthopedic patients for at least 2 years. Negative pressure ORs will be built. Things will be different.

Put in the work to proactively right now to rethink your surgical training at medical courses, your procedure planning, your delivery/distribution and your on-site service. 

Here are a few challenge questions to get you started.

+ How can you shift more sales from hospital customers to ASCs customers? There will be a shift to ASCs.

+ Assuming large orthopedic conferences disappear, how can you change your marketing approach? One thought here – The Future of Marketing in Orthopedics.

+ How can you improve your scheduling, delivering, sterilizing, and servicing businesses to put less work and less stress on hospitals/ASCs?

+ How can you sell more procedure specific single-use disposables and less systems that require autoclavable trays?

+ How can your sales reps provide surgery support with less-human contact? 

+ How can you prove to your customer that your implant boxes and packaging are COVID free and do have to be whipped down?

+ How can you “certify” that your sales reps are COVID free before they enter the hospital?

+ How can your reps provide and wear their own PPEs?

+ How can you partner with a wearables company for remote clinical data before/after surgery to take the followup visits burden off your customer?

+ How can you partner with companies that specialize in VR surgical training to train more surgeons on your systems faster/cheaper/remotely than physical training in some resort hotel?

What did I miss?