By Tom Donnelly, Chief Revenue Officer, Level Ex
Having spent over 20 years working with customers in the life sciences industry, I’m well aware of the challenges medical device companies face when it comes to training surgeons. Almost all training is done in person, whether in the OR, clinic, or simulation center, which is not always the most efficient. And over time, these face-to-face meetings get extremely expensive.
I’ve always argued that—while in-person training is valuable—we need equal alternatives, and COVID-19 drastically increased that need. When the pandemic began, we saw in-person meetings between reps and surgeons sharply decline as hospitals tried to limit nonessential personnel from entering their doors, so reps have had to conduct many of their conversations over web conferencing. I’ve also spoken with several medical device companies whose reps are now allowed in hospitals but need to remain socially distanced from the surgeon. Given these scenarios, we have to ask ourselves, how do we equip medical device reps with the tools they need to interact and train with surgeons at a distance or entirely remotely?
Multi-User Simulated Surgery Over Web Conferencing
I knew there had to be a solution, but it wasn’t until I joined Level Ex this summer that I realized the answer would come from the video games industry. Video games have always been a way for me to unwind personally, and with five kids under the age of 19, our family gameplay has only increased since the start of the pandemic. In all my years working with life sciences companies, it never once occurred to me that the technology behind the games I play could be the game-changer I was looking for.
Level Ex saw a unique opportunity to leverage video game technology to improve surgical training outside of the OR. We’d been exploring cloud-based video game technology since 2019, but COVID-19 accelerated those efforts. We recently launched Virtual Technique Guides™ to offer remote collaboration, and the underlying technology enabling the remote capabilities is our cloud-based gaming platform, Level Ex Remote Play™. To date, cloud gaming technology has only been used for consumer game streaming platforms by companies like Google, Sony, and Microsoft. Level Ex Remote Play marks the first time this technology is being used in the healthcare space.
With Virtual Technique Guides, we allow surgeons, sales reps, and trainers the opportunity to step into the virtual operating room, collaborating without having to be in the same physical space. Users can access this environment on any mobile or desktop web browser by simply clicking on a link or scanning a QR code, with no app or software to download. Medical device sales reps can continue their video conversation over the web conferencing platform of their choice with Virtual Technique Guides integrated into the experience.
That means that in one click, a sales rep in Boston can seamlessly perform virtual surgery together with a surgeon in San Diego. This completely reimagines surgical training and is exactly the solution I’ve dreamed about for over 20 years.
A Paradigm Shift for Surgical Training
When I joined Level Ex, our Virtual Technique Guides solution was what I looked forward to the most on our product roadmap. It was the first time in my career that I saw something for the life sciences industry that would fundamentally change the way surgeons were trained. Now that the solution is rolled out, what energizes me even more is seeing the results. Our first client using Virtual Technique Guides has seen a 28% increase in information recall by healthcare professionals, indicating that our Virtual Technique Guides improve healthcare professionals' competency in their product.
Virtual Technique Guides will be a paradigm shift for surgical training. Level Ex is giving reps the ability to have virtual, one-on-one interactions without compromising visual fidelity, the back and forth conversation that builds the relationship, or the interactivity of working on the same patient at the same time. We’re prompting medical device companies to rethink how much time reps and surgeons need to spend training together in the same room. For surgeons, we're creating flexibility they didn't know was possible, allowing them to connect with reps on their own terms, anywhere at any time.
By applying cutting-edge video game technology to surgical training, we're solving issues that have plagued the industry for a very long time, all while elevating surgeon and sales rep interactions. I'm confident that as surgeons experience these spectacular graphics and remote interactivity, it will quickly become what they expect from the medical device industry moving forward.
To learn more about Level Ex or request a demo, visit us at www.levelex.com/partnerships.
About Tom Donnelly
Tom is a veteran commercial and operations leader with over 20 years of management experience in integrated healthcare marketing, advertising, and consulting. At Level Ex, he oversees multiple teams including pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device sales and partnerships, customer success, and revenue operations. Tom joined Level Ex from Evoke, a top 10 global marketing services agency that he helped grow from less than 10 to over 500 employees and that works with dozens of the largest life sciences companies in the industry. Follow Tom on LinkedIn.