Friction may be the most underrated concept in creating a sustainable profitable orthopedic business.

In a previous “push-versus-pull” article I have touched on the concept of friction – The startup success grid.

More recently, the topic of reducing friction for the customer has become theme during BoneChat community discussions.

OK, let’s dive in.

Orthopedic Medical Device Friction Points and Solutions

Orthopedic medical device sales can unintentionally introduce friction for hospital customers, hindering smooth adoption and hindering patient care.

Let’s explore both sides of the coin:

Friction Points for Orthopedic Customers (Hospitals/ASCs):

1. Complex Procurement and Reimbursement:

  • Lengthy approval processes: Navigating regulations and securing insurance coverage can be a bureaucratic maze for hospitals, delaying device acquisition and implementation.
  • Lack of transparency in pricing: The complex pricing structures of medical devices, often involving multiple stakeholders and hidden costs, can create confusion and mistrust for hospitals.

2. Training and Support Challenges:

  • Inadequate staff training: Insufficient or poorly designed training programs for hospital staff on new devices can lead to errors, inefficiencies, and safety concerns.
  • Limited ongoing support: Lack of readily available technical support and troubleshooting resources can leave hospitals feeling abandoned when facing issues with devices.

3. Device Complexity and Usability:

  • Steep learning curve for new devices: Complex interfaces and functionalities can require significant time and effort from staff to master, diverting resources from patient care.
  • Time-consuming procedures: Devices with lengthy or cumbersome setup and operation procedures can disrupt the flow of surgeries and clinics.
  • Poor device integration: Incompatibility with existing hospital systems and workflows can create additional hurdles and disrupt data collection and analysis.

4. Inventory Management and Maintenance:

  • High inventory costs: Hospitals need to maintain a stock of essential parts and consumables, leading to significant upfront and ongoing expenses.
  • Complex maintenance processes: Regular device maintenance and calibration can be time-consuming and require specialized technicians, adding to the workload and potentially impacting patient care.

Solutions to Reduce Friction from the Ortho Device Companies:

1. Streamlined Procurement and Reimbursement:

  • Clear and concise communication: Medical device companies should provide transparent pricing breakdowns and actively assist hospitals in navigating insurance and regulatory hurdles.
  • Flexible financing options: Offering leasing, pay-per-use, or bundled payment models can ease the financial burden on hospitals and expedite device acquisition.

2. Enhanced Training and Support:

  • User-friendly training programs: Develop intuitive and engaging training materials tailored to different staff levels and learning styles.
  • 24/7 technical support: Provide readily accessible hotlines, online resources, and on-site technical assistance to address issues promptly and effectively.

3. Design for Simplicity and Usability:

  • Intuitive interfaces and workflows: Prioritize user-friendliness in device design to minimize the learning curve and reduce the risk of errors.
  • Focus on efficiency: Streamline device setup and operation procedures to save time and optimize the surgical or clinical workflow.
  • Interoperability and seamless integration: Ensure compatibility with existing hospital systems and platforms to facilitate data sharing and analysis.

4. Optimized Inventory Management and Maintenance:

  • Just-in-time delivery models: Partner with hospitals to implement inventory management systems that automatically replenish necessary parts and consumables, reducing waste and costs.
  • Remote monitoring and predictive maintenance: Utilize IoT technologies to remotely monitor device performance and predict potential issues, enabling proactive maintenance and minimizing downtime.

Additional Strategies:

  • Invest in value-based partnerships: Focus on building long-term relationships with hospitals, demonstrating the device’s clinical and economic value proposition through data and outcomes.
  • Embrace innovation: Continuously invest in research and development to create more efficient, user-friendly, and cost-effective orthopedic devices.
  • Prioritize patient safety: Uphold the highest standards of quality and safety throughout the design, manufacturing, and implementation of medical devices.

By addressing these friction points and implementing effective solutions, orthopedic medical device companies can foster smoother collaboration with hospitals, ultimately improving patient care and