Will Randall, ZS AssociatesI often pause in restaurant bathrooms, amused by the familiar signage above the sink: “Employees must wash hands before returning to work.” Surely everyone washes their hands. While these well-meaning but rather amusing signs are found all over the U.S., do they actually have any impact on improving hygiene practices? Probably not. But what does that have to do with medtech, anyway?
Imagine that a hospital introduces a surgeon to a new device by simply hanging a sign over the operating table with one line of instruction. Would anyone just expect that the surgeon will know how to use the device correctly and consistently in every procedure? Devices alone don’t improve outcomes. Better outcomes are only achieved when driven by changes in behaviors across the provider organization.
Upgrading hospital equipment and simply notifying clinical staff of the change isn’t enough to achieve outcomes improvements, even if those outcomes are critically important. One of the fundamental factors for medtech value propositions is “achievability”: Medtech companies should do what they can to ensure that the value that their devices are offering to provider organizations is achievable in the real world—and that the devices aren’t just a more expensive way for customers to get the same outcome as the commodity product.
How can manufacturers successfully change behaviors to deliver on these promised outcomes? Posting a sign that meets the minimum legal requirements isn’t going to have a meaningful impact on the staff’s behaviors, be they surgeons or sous chefs.
Look beyond your product and consider offering additional resources, including:
- Training protocols: Provide training and opportunities to practice under supervision, either with a representative during the procedure or at a manufacturer’s central training location.
- Support and service: Training is never “one and done,” especially when a device is widely used across a provider organization. Consider a department with hundreds of nurses working around the clock: How do you train, support and provide service to everyone on a particular device?
- Workflow guidance: Manufacturers need a structured way to support the effective use of the product. In some cases, customers also can use this approach to assess individuals and teams on their correct usage of the device and provide corrective feedback if needed.