Author: Prashant Apte

The one secret ingredient that can boost market share of medical device manufacturers

Whether you are an established player or an aspirant wanting to get into the booming medical devices business in India, the thought of improving your market share has never left you for one moment. As a matter of fact, with intense competition and pricing challenges, established players are now more worried about maintaining their market share.

The marketing and advertising industry have been taken by a storm since companies like Facebook and Google made an appearance. However, medical devices are serious business and neither Facebook nor Google can be the relevant platforms for product promotions and advertising for this domain. With Facebook carrying an impression of casual social networking and Google being used more for search, serious businesses such as the medical device manufacturers have been found wanting for an appropriate vehicle to effectively deliver their product information to an equally serious clientele – the doctors.

There is one avenue that the medical device manufacturers have used for a long time albeit ineffectively or should I rather say – insufficiently, and that is education. Almost all the major players have budgets allocated every year to sponsor CME’s. These CME’s done in the traditional manner have very limited mechanisms for tracking ROI, are expensive, are difficult to organize and almost impossible to scale. In such a situation it becomes critical to make use of cutting edge technology which can help in delivering the same services to a large customer base at a fraction of the cost.

Let’s take an example. A traditional CME requires a medical device manufacturer to spend on the venue, food, transportation, hotel stay for KOL’s and participants alike and also the standard expenses for engaging the KOL. With a finite budget, how many doctors can you cater to with such a CME? The answer will always be – a few tens (standard) to at the most. few hundreds (for companies with deep pockets).

Now consider this scenario, where a leading medical device manufacturer engaged a KOL for a CME, used cutting edge technology to deliver the CME, and this time instead of bringing the doctors to the venue, took the CME to the doctor – to his hospital, to his home or to his car. It really didn’t matter where the doctor was, the technology of today had the power to reach anywhere.

Let’s quickly analyse the situation.

Did the manufacturer lose out on anything? No, nothing at all.

What about leads that are usually generated at the venue? Well, technology had the features to present the manufacturer’s products and generate enquiries. The manufacturer managed to generate more leads than he could even imagine.

Did the manufacturer really manage to create economies of scale? Of course, for a fixed cost of the technology platform, the manufacturer now has the ability to reach not just customers of geography but the whole world. He was creating economies of a scale way beyond what was imagined possible in the past.

The example above is not a hypothetical case but a reality. More and more manufacturers have started using technology to reach the customers, deliver education and use the opportunity to educate the doctor on the products offered. It’s turning out to be convenient to all the stakeholders, the medical device manufacturer, the KOL and the end customer.

Meditorch Technologies offers one such platform – LapGuru that has become the go-to resource for medical device manufacturers for conducting their eCME’s. LapGuru has cutting edge features that have made it a favourite amongst surgeons and hence it is ubiquitous in the surgery education domain.

If you are a medical device manufacturer, you must use this modality and experience how it impacts your product promotion and education strategies.

Broadcasting Surgery – The technology already exists – all that’s required now is some enthusiasm!

Broadcasting Surgery – The technology already exists – all that’s required now is some enthusiasm!

Surgeons work right on the forefront of healthcare. Conducting life-changing and life-saving procedures, they are responsible for delivering essential interventions in acute, critical and emergency care. In the current digital era, the viewing of live surgery is considered to be an essential part of surgical training both, for open and laparoscopic surgeries. Also, this methodology can revolutionize surgical education and training, particularly for developing countries that don’t have the resources and facilities.

The idea of broadcasting live surgery has been around for several years. However, it’s been largely limited to uses such as add-ons to conferences. Because they haven’t been done so regularly, broadcasts tend to be expensive, time consuming, of variable quality and limited availability.

The phenomenal advances made in audio-visual technologies and high-speed telecommunication systems in the recent years have provided surgeons with unique opportunities. Video streaming and bandwidth availability, combined with the installation of camera systems within operating rooms have literally taken the operation theaters to the classrooms. The unique and unparalleled view of an operation means trainee surgeons know better what to expect when they go in to the operating theatre.

Why ‘Live Broadcast’?

Experience is critical

Surgical procedures can range from the routine and straightforward to the highly complex and specialized. Broadcasted surgeries are of expert practitioners and seasoned surgeons who have pioneered a particular technique and may in some cases be the only person in the world offering it. Broadcasting a surgery permits “virtual” access to the operating room for those who can’t physically be there. It also enables non-specialist surgeons in remote areas to access the expertise of more specialist surgeons in major centers. Advice can be sought from an expert not just in another city but also another country, offering guidance on every step to be taken.

Development of competence

The adage “See one, do one, teach one” is familiar to surgical trainees. Training new surgeons is extremely critically to healthcare in every aspect. Thanks to technology, expert surgeons do not have to travel to lecture or teach, they can do so remotely. It creates the opportunity for potentially thousands of trainee surgeons worldwide to gain the benefit of watching a specialist perform and talk through a single procedure, greatly increasing the flow of knowledge. And it gives the learners the excitement of being able to learn from the best surgeons in the world, in wide variety of disciplines.

Crisis management

Broadcasting facilitates continuing education and is useful when surgeons encounter a rare condition or procedure. The videos are archived so if a surgeon in another part of the world finds himself/ herself in a similar situation, they can search for the relevant technique. All that’s needed is a working internet connection or access to a mobile phone network. The videos can also be viewed on all mobile devices, such as iPads and smart phones.




Digital Learning for Laparoscopic Surgeons

As a Doctor, you are destined to lifelong learning because even what’s considered a “best practice” in the profession can change drastically in a short span of time. Continuous exposure is important if you want to keep up with medical progress. Up to date knowledge and skill can ensure a high quality of patient care. Online training is an effective and cost-efficient resource in any field, but in the hands of health professionals like you, it has the power to save lives and significantly improve quality of care.

It is often said that expansion of the Internet is comparable with the significance of Gutenberg’s discovery of printing technology. While printing accelerated manipulation of information stored by then in the form of hand-written texts, the Internet enormously accelerated information manipulation by applying the today’s electronic technology.

Welcome to LapGuru, an advanced, flexible training and learning platform that provides Laparoscopic training videos for surgeons in a highly engaging manner right on any desktop, laptop or device. Applying the latest information technologies to laparoscopic surgery education, LapGuru takes advantage of the increasing availability of Internet access (using optical fibres, Wi-Fi and 3G/4G mobile phone technology).

The delivery advantages of LapGuru as an online platform are easily recognized: low costs, widespread distribution, increased accessibility to information, frequent content updates, and personalized instruction in terms of content and pace of learning are some of the most cited benefits of LapGuru.

On Demand & Highly Accessible

Learn at your own pace and availability, at work, at home, on the train or anywhere with an internet connection

Ground-breaking Learning Packages

One small fee for a wealth of subject-specific videos to allow you to develop true depth in vital topics without worrying about the additional cost

Turn your Expertise into Learning for Others

Are you an expert laparoscopic surgeon? The LapGuru platform can help you share your expertise with hundreds of aspiring surgeons by transmitting your surgeries live.

Visual understanding is something especially important in the laparoscopic surgery field. Images and figures play an extremely important role (consider anatomy, organ structure, port positions, equipment handling, where visual understanding is absolutely necessary.

LapGuru has a video library of 2500+ laparoscopic surgery videos that can help you to improve your clinical and professional competencies. For example, if you want to learn lap chole, there are more than 300 videos that probably show you all the possible variations that you will typically encounter in a lap chole procedure. It applies to Hernia, Bariatric or any other procedure as well. The nuances of any surgical procedure can be learnt only when you watch more and more surgeries and variations in the pathology, LapGuru helps you achieve that.

Get ready for more effective, engaging, innovative learning experiences specifically for laparoscopic surgeons. Subscribe now!

Performing laparoscopic surgeries in rural areas with LapGuru

Teaching and training methods for Laparoscopic surgeries have evolved considerably since it was first introduced in late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Most of the learning in those days was limited to short-term courses that were largely centred in big cities, followed by quick implementation in the operation theatre. This unstructured approach sometimes resulted in major threats to patient safety and undesired outcomes for the surgical process undertaken. There was a huge lacuna that existed in training laparoscopic surgeons, more so in tier 2 and tier 3 cities.

For example:  In rural areas, due to limited resources available, women usually come very late to health care facility and desire a permanent cure for their disease. Till sometime ago, the newer and lesser radical treatment options for gynecological conditions like laparoscopic hysterectomy was not available in remote areas. A number of minimally invasive surgical options for hysterectomy do exist now and are promising like endometrial ablation, thermal balloon therapy and uterine artery embolization. However, there exists a need to train more and more surgeons on these procedures so that they can be widely used.

When compared with open surgeries, laparoscopy is somewhat difficult to both, learn and train. For example, during open procedures the operating surgeon can teach a learner in a direct fashion whereas in a laparoscopic surgery the operating surgeon is simultaneously teaching while retracting a tissue or driving a camera. Surgeons need distinctive skills sets to perform laparoscopic surgery efficiently and accurately. It uses specialized equipment and the surgeons must be familiar with the workings of devices such as suction irrigators, clip appliers, staplers etc. While the cognitive skills can be accurately disseminated via traditional methods, learning the technical skills for laparoscopic surgeries requires a more structured approach.

In a first, LapGuru, an online surgical training platform for laparoscopic surgeons, has launched online live surgical videos to train rural doctors in small towns and far-flung areas to help augment their laparoscopic skills. The ideology behind the platform is that there are lakhs of doctors who may not have the time to attend physical conferences, continued medical education programs as they are busy working in rural or tier two cities. Distance, time and sometimes expenses become a major hindrance in pursuit of excellence for them. LapGuru can help save many precious lives and improve quality of life of many more by improving skills of the doctors attending to them.

Advanced medical care is often unavailable to patients in remote, rural areas. LapGuru has become an effective method of teaching the local doctors practical and cost-effective new methods in Laparoscopic surgeries. It broadcasts live surgeries for doctors in rural settings to learn from some of the world’s top laparoscopic experts.

“LapGuru is an excellent platform to view surgical videos in various disciplines. The high quality videos contain step-by-step procedures, checkpoints and are supplemented with the instrument list for each procedure. Watching the LapCole videos on LapGuru has helped me to come up with alternative approaches to complications encountered during surgery. I have also been able to save a lot of time as the videos have helped to cut down on unnecessary things during procedures. I am thoroughly impressed and fascinated by the value it provides to seasoned surgeons along with those who may be interested in pursuing a career in surgery.” Says Dr. Subhadeep Tripathy who is practicing laparoscopic surgeon in rural Maharashtra.

 Many medical facilities in rural areas are not equipped with the latest technologies to train staff on latest up to date advancements and medical information to run a more efficient healthcare practice. Having access to materials such as a library of live surgery videos that demonstrate the correct way to perform tasks and error avoidance strategies can be very helpful to bring world-class expertise into rural operating theatres.

 For example, in Satara one hundred eight patients have undergone laparoscopic cholecystectomy; there have been no deaths; 2 cases were converted to open procedures; no common bile duct injuries, postoperative complications, or long-term complications.

While there is a growing issue with a shortage of doctors, rural healthcare facilities can utilize programs and modern technologies to improve the care provided to patients. And leveraging LapGuru can help train the medical staff in real-time from leading experts across the globe. LapGuru has a library of over 2500+ live surgery broadcasts in which surgeons have performed various procedures like General, Bariatric, Colorectal, Urologic and Gynecologic surgery in real-time, and have taken questions over a video stream. Viewers only need a standard web browser on a computer, a laptop or mobile device to join in and watch. The surgeons can watch a re-run of the surgeries at their own convenience a number of times to master both the nuances of procedure as well as handling of the equipment used.

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