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Part 2: Case Coverage & Training

Graphic Breakdown

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June 23, 2020

[caption id="attachment_2146" align="aligncenter" width="382"] Two-thirds of medtech executives felt that it would be difficult for reps to meet the demand of cases once elective procedures resumed during the Coronavirus recovery period.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2145" align="aligncenter" width="346"] 93% of medtech executives were concerned their proctors or trainees wouldn't have access to case observation/proctoring post-COVID.[/caption]

Anticipated Challenges

Case Coverage & Training

The second installment of a 4-part series will focus on how medtech executives are thinking about the challenges reps face with case coverage & training new physicians and reps.

The last blog introduced the intent behind the survey we posed to medtech executives & the challenges they anticipate in perpetuity with COVID-19.   This post will focus on survey results and challenges medical device executives face with case coverage and training.

As a review, the posts will be divided into the following installments:

  1. Introduction: Anticipated business challenges caused by COVID-19
  2. Survey results & challenges - Case Coverage & Sales/Physician Training
  3. Survey results & challenges - Hospital Access
  4. Anticipated solution as medtech moves toward a new normal post-COVID-19


Challenge #1 

High Case Demand Caused by Cancelled or Postponed Cases

Elective procedure cancellation started in early March as a directive from CMS trying to preserve PPE and hospital beds for those in greatest need.[i]  Consequently, the backlog of elective procedures has medical device executives scrambling to find solutions.  Executives expressed concerns about:

  • High volume of cases and ability to support necessary cases.
  • Risk of reps' getting COVID
Graphic explanation looking at executives perception of their team's ability to cover cases due to the backlog caused cancelled cases during COVID-19.


Slowly procedure restrictions are being lifted and “shelter in place” mandates are easing.  Consequently, these changes mean surgery centers and hospitals are resuming elective procedures.  In spite of life beginning to return to normal, not all Medtech companies are ready to send their reps back into the OR.

Medical Device Commercial Operation Example

We are hearing and seeing medtech companies look at creative solutions to their business model.  A neuromodulation company has chosen to do the following: create pricing tiers based on support level.

  • Tier 1 - Platinum.  Rep attends the case & programs the stimulator same day.
  • Tier 2 - Gold.  Rep programs the patients stimulator in clinic on a designated day.
  • Tier 3 - Silver.  Rep will remotely program the neuromodulator with RN support.

The Sliver Support Tier is in line with AdvaMed's recommendation that reps cover cases remotely as much as possible to protect themselves and others.[ii]  Moreover, AORN, ACS, and other groups are all recommending that cases be supported remotely to reduce exposure and preserve PPE.

There is no doubt the pandemic has caused a disruption to healthcare’s ecosystem.  This disruption is good - it forces evaluation of needed change.  This is exactly what it is causing Medtech leaders to do.

Challenge #2:

Physician & Sales Rep Training

Classroom & Lab Face-to-Face Training

Training is the cornerstone for any biotech and medical device company.  A significant portion of business operations are traditionally planned around hands-on activities. From training and mobilizing sales forces to engaging with providers and patients, medical device and biotech companies have relied on face-to-face communication to develop, train, and sell their products.[iv]   Interestingly, more than a third of respondents felt face-to-face training needed to be reconfigured.

Travel restrictions continue and government recommendations to maintain 6 feet apart make face-to-face interaction with hands on learning nearly impossible.

Graphic Breakdown of challenges med device training teams will experience during the Coroanvirus recovery period.

Proctoring and Case Observation

Case observation and proctoring are at the cornerstone of many medtech companies.  With access being limited completely or to one company representative, this poses new challenges and risks.  To that end, 92% of medtech executives felt their teams would meet significant constraints when trying to do live case proctoring and in field training post-COVID 19.

Possible Solutions to Remote Training

Medtech leadership is critically thinking about how to virtualize these key, high-touch training events and help their organizations develop their new virtual muscles.[v] Thankfully, innovative healthcare technology companies are seizing the opportunity to offer remote training and education, from enhanced 3D modeling and VR to digitized procedure workflows and remote face-to-face training, it is making it easier for Medtech companies to pivot and adapt.


The next installment will dive into the challenges medtech executives anticipate with hospital access.


This blog has been written by Liv Williamsen who is currently an Executive in Residence at ExplORer Surgical.




[ii] Kelly, S.  (2020, May 20).  Medtech Dive.  AdvaMed, health systems set ground rules for return of sales reps.  Retrieved on May, 26, 2020 from

[iii] Bean, R. (2020, April 26).  Forbes.  Moneyball Medicine: Data-Driven Healthcare Transformation.  Retrieved on May 15, 2020 from

[iv] Collens, S.  (2020, May 1).  Four ways Medtechs companies are adapting to a COVID-19 world.  Retrieved on May 5, 2020 from

[v] Collens, S.  (2020, May 1).  Four ways Medtechs companies are adapting to a COVID-19 world.  Retrieved on May 5, 2020 from

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