Managing The Time Crunch: Best Practices, Solutions & Ideas
Greg Prevatt is the Director of Education at Apollo Endosurgery and is presenting at the upcoming Medical Device Clinical Training Conference on February 26-27 in Charlotte, NC. Learn more about his presentation below!
Can you give a brief overview of your role at Apollo Endosurgery?
I am the Director of Education at Apollo Endosurgery. I wear a lot of hats in this role—including physician and surgeon education, event and society meetings, managing grant requests and staffing. We also have a mobile learning center that I oversee. The Mobile Learning Center allows us to perform nearly 120 training sessions including open door trainings and formal faculty-led events. The MLC also has a conference room that allows us to set up either boardroom style or classroom style and do didactic learning in addition to the hands-on learning that follows. See the Mobile Learning Center in action here.
Please share a short overview of your presentation, “Time Crunch Challenge: Integrating Quality Training Into HCP’s Schedules.”
Part of what I’ll discuss is how to get physicians and staff trained in a relatively busy world. In addition to discussing the Mobile Learning Center, I’ll talk about fitting into the busy schedules of physicians and surgeons. One of the ways we do this is by utilizing the time the HCPs are away from their offices—when they’re at conferences and society meetings. Usually, they’ve blocked out time to be at the meeting, so we are able to get them training during those time blocks using the MLC.
Another idea is we do a lot of partnering with society meetings and society training events. As part of the grant process, there are requests for training events where physicians pay to attend and are able to train on our products. Staffing those events with personnel who understand the product helps. Remote training and webinars are helpful as well.
One of the things I took away from last year’s conference is there are a lot of people who are trying to move towards web-based or remote training, whereas, I’m still in favor of hands-on training. A surgeon likely will not use a widget unless they’ve done hands-on training. They’ll want that real-life experience which is why we’ve developed the Mobile Lab, it helps bring that to them locally.
For background, I’m a former orthopedic physician assistant. I worked in the Chicagoland area, did my training at Cook County Hospital and did 10 years of private practice. I just can’t imagine, as a clinician, using a device that I’d never actually done hands-on training for. Whether that’s full cadaver labs or bone blocks, I can’t imagine using it on a patient just because I watched a video online. It certainly depends what a person is being trained on, too. For the more invasive devices, hands-on training experience is essential.
What are 1-3 key takeaways you hope attendees will learn from your presentation?
The first key takeaway is that the time crunch is only going to get worse. There are some instances were some surgeons or physicians are becoming employees of the hospital where they can have set training times to get some training that might be helpful, but as reimbursement goes down and overhead for these practices goes up, people are only going to get busier. So as educators, we need to be more creative with our training methods. We need to decide between building a lab or using on-site labs to bring training to HCPs.
Another takeaway is the importance of maximizing your time at conferences by using the physicians’ time at those conferences to get training done. It’s especially important if you have a hot new device that people are clamoring for—you have to maximize your training time.
My last takeaway is to partner with societies. They’re conducting trainings and charging physicians to show up and take these courses, making sure that the people who the society picks as faculty at each product table knows the device in and out and know how to train on the device. One of the initiatives that we’ve implemented over the past few years is being demanding on who is staffing the booth at these events and making sure that they intimately know the product well enough to train physicians on it. We think of it like this, if a society is going to request a grant and we’re going to approve a product grant, we want to make sure that the trainer knows exactly how to properly and effectively train on the product. The societies have also been forthcoming with this—they also want successful programs, so we’ve had more positive feedback by being more demanding on who is teaching our product.
Why do you believe it’s important to attend this conference?
One of the things that I get out of the meeting, personally, is knowing that there is a community of company educators who are all in the same fight as you are. Everyone has similar issues, no matter the company. Being able to share ideas, even across different specialties that maybe someone has already figured out a problem that I’ve been working on and maybe I don’t have to recreate the wheel, I can take an existing solution and apply it to a problem I’m working on. For example, at the 2018 program, there was an excellent session on ROI, “Industry Insight Panel Discussion: Strategies to Effectively Measure ROI” with Shunji Brown-Woods, Smith & Nephew. This can be a somewhat nerve-wracking topic given different ROI requirements, but she did an excellent presentation on tracking and maintaining compliance. I took notes and actually implemented some of the things that she covered in my role. Again, it’s very much a two-way street, and there is a lot to learn from colleagues.
As we hear about mergers and consolidations especially within the medical device industry, it never hurts to do a little networking. People who are across the aisle from you now could be your coworkers in 6 months if your company gets bought. Meeting people and making those connections is beneficial. The networking cannot be underestimated.
It’s really refreshing to go to this conference and realize that there is a whole community of people who are struggling with the same issues that I am. Knowing that you’re not alone is very refreshing.