What Will You Learn Between Conference Sessions?
Thursday, October 4, 2018 | Joseph Sasson
Like you, I have walked a lot of exhibit hall floors. I used to be in a rush – for a meeting, to get a bite to eat, to meet up with peers for conversation, and so on. I would avoid eye contact with those tending exhibit booths for fear they might consume my valuable time by trying to sell me something. And I was not interested in the swag (who really needs another squishy ball or pen?). I believe that I was more typical than not. Yet time passes and we get wiser. I now have an entirely new perspective that I want to share with you today: At each booth is an opportunity to learn!
Before I dive into this, I want to mention how and why MedAxiom partners with members of industry. MedAxiom firmly believes in creating synergy between administration, physicians, and industry, and that synergy needs to be value-adding to all parties. Working with industry is not simply a financial proposition – we need industry to accelerate the evolution of cardiovascular healthcare. In searching for partners, MedAxiom seeks companies that have a new value proposition, product, or service that the cardiovascular industry needs and that we believe will benefit our membership.
Also, and very importantly, our vetting process is focused on determining the cultural fit with our members—we seek to understand the types of sales strategies the potential partner employs. Most professionals know that a pushy sales tactic is not going to work, no matter how great their product, service and/or swag are. They know it’s about relationship development, and that starts with a conversation. We seek partners who know how the value of conversations and information exchange relates to the development of their business and next generation of products. Whether or not a sale is on the immediate horizon, the simple act of learning about your practice holds immeasurable value.
I’ve written in prior blog posts about how industry and provider organizations need to collaborate, innovate, and co-develop, and Jacob Turmell’s recent blog post provided an example of one such collaborative program offered by Philips Healthcare. So, how does everything I’ve mentioned above affect the “busy” you who attends a MedAxiom meeting? How does that philosophy of sharing come to fruition? How can you learn, and simultaneously help industry partners to learn? By starting a simple conversation. Partners benefit from these conversations, and our members do as well—for the same reasons.
Today I view exhibit halls as a series of 101 college-level courses. I would not consider myself an expert in many areas of cardiovascular healthcare, but I’m fluent, and that fluency comes from constant learning. Each of the partners at our meetings are experts in their field. They know EMRs, data analytics, CVIS products, nuclear imaging and isotopes, and so on, probably much better than many of us who need to focus on other issues more pertinent to our daily success. By understanding and accepting that they likely have superior subject matter expertise, even if only in some aspect of that subject, I get to learn a lot.
When I think about how our MedAxiom members can learn more about what is going on in CV healthcare today, interacting with partners is at the top of the list. The types of companies MedAxiom partners with vary in product mix, but as I mentioned, we aim for an alignment of cultures. We seek companies that share a goal of advancing cardiovascular care and achieving the quadruple aim, and that shapes a different culture in our partner exhibit area.
The CV Transforum is a unique opportunity to engage with industry experts in a new way. For example, even for those of you who have PET cameras, are you in the know on all isotope options? How about reimbursement changes? Myocardial Blood Flow? New camera technologies and new software packages? The best training and deployment practices? You get the picture—even when we’re fluent, there is always more to learn.
The questions I find myself asking at industry booths include:
- What is the difference between you and your two closest competitors?
- What are the biggest challenges your customers face?
- How do you help them to overcome those challenges?
- What is next in your pipeline to add value to your customers?
- What changes do you see happening in your industry that will affect your product and/or your customer base?
By asking those simple questions I feel more informed for meetings and discussions regarding that topic area. I’ve just received one person’s subjective view of the future, and while it’s subjective, talking to a few different partners helps me to piece together somewhat of an industry consensus.
Of course, I’m conscious of the potential for an Us (practices) vs. Them (industry) culture, and I’ll continue to do what I can to prevent that from arising; the collaborative approach is the only one that will change healthcare innovation and delivery and I’m confident that our partners espouse this view as well. It all starts with a conversation, and whether or not you’re currently in the market for a particular product or service shouldn’t dictate your level of engagement. Being informed enough to be a meaningful contributor to those conversations when they arise in your organization is a sign of preparedness. When meetings turn to the topics of strategies to improve market share, prevent leakage, optimize workflow, reduce staffing costs, increase revenue, improve patient experience, and so on, you will already be aware of the opportunities out there and can bring new ideas to the table in your practice.
Enjoy your time at the CV Transforum Fall’18 conference in Austin next week. I encourage you to continue your learning outside of the sessions by asking questions and getting new insights. Make the most of your conference experience by engaging with all attendees, regardless of which side of an exhibit booth they stand on. You never know what you’re going to learn or where those valuable nuggets of information that you bring back to the practice will come from.
MedAxiom’s blog post is published every Thursday at www.medaxiom.com/blog
Illustration: Lee Sauer
About the Author
Joseph Sasson, Ph.D. is Executive Vice President of MedAxiom Ventures. Joe's work includes helping MedAxiom members to access the technologies and solutions they need most to effectively run their organizations and prepare themselves for the future of value-based care. Simultaneously, Joe works with dozens of companies in med-tech, device, pharma, imaging, cath labs/ASCs, and health IT to deliver economic value propositions and strategies to help companies accelerate commercial growth.
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