On this episode of MedTech Gurus, Dr. Alejandro Badia, CEO & Chief Medical Officer of OrthoNow LLC, was kind enough to sit down with us and talk about why being an early adopter is a good thing, how surgeons can teach other surgeons, the biggest challenges facing OrthoNow, and a host of other topics.
Dr. Badia and the team at OrthoNow are revolutionizing the orthopedic urgent care market through the implementation of boutique clinics, available at the patient's convenience, drastically reducing the amount of time needed to get an appointment with a specialist.
Be an Early Adopter
One of the most common mistakes in the medical world is a hesitancy to be an early adopter of new technology and devices. Countless companies have had what it takes, but just miss the mark because they are unwilling to break free of routine and complacency and embrace new ideas.
Take for example, a company that was developing a new suture welding technology. If we’re honest with one another, knot tying is a bit primitive. It treats patients like a shoelace, and often ends in bulk, adhesions, and quite a bit of scarring. This particular company had developed a technology that was less invasive, left less scarring, and healed faster. They were bought by a bigger company, and the entire project fell by the wayside. The company bought the technology, made some fundamental changes, and in the end, the product stalled and was abandoned. This is a shame because neither surgeons nor their patients got the benefits of this breakthrough technology, all because the new company weren't’ interested in being early adopters.
Let Surgeons teach Other Surgeons
Obviously with medical devices, much like most other items, the salesperson is important. They are specially trained and skilled at presenting a product in such a way as to best convince someone of their need for that product.
That being said, the best teacher for a surgeon is probably another surgeon. Take the roller plate that was sold to Johnson & Johnson, revolutionizing the way implants can be marketed. One of the reasons it was done so successfully was that they realized that surgeons can teach other surgeons. They held small workshops where surgeons taught on cadavers how best to use the plates, and in the end, it was an incredible success. In this ever changing world, it’s important to teach people how to do something, rather than merely selling them a product.
Fail Fast, and Fail Forward
In the founding of OrthoCare, Dr. Badia used failure as a catalyst. Before OrthoCare came into existence, there was Doctors Now, a general Urgent Care practice that never quite picked up traction or got the results they were hoping for. It would have been easy for Dr. Badia and his colleagues to move on to the next thing, but he understood that entrepreneurs need to see failure as a revision of the business model. Failure is the catalyst that drives success.
Thomas Edison famously said, after failing over and over again to perfect the light bulb “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
So 5 months later, the DoctorsNow model became OrthoNow, and has been a runaway success, and is now being franchised. Fail quickly, fail forward, and learn from your failures.
What is Needed is a Change in Behavior
A year or two ago, if you asked what the biggest challenge for OrthoNow was, the answer probably would've been awareness. People need to know that the company exists, which seems like a pretty fundamental challenge to most companies.
Now, however, the answer is quite simple. What is needed is a change in behavior. The tendency with significant injuries, be they sprains, cuts, or even fractures, is to go straight to the emergency room. Or for more minor injuries, the closest urgent care clinic will do. What happens when you get there? You spend hours waiting to be seen, likely get a slough of tests that are unnecessary to your particular ailment, and are sent out with a splint, some pain meds, and a referral to an orthopedic specialist. They can also often end up misdiagnosed, which can have long lasting repercussions for the patient. They’ll say things like “I went to the ER and they told me I had a jammed finger.” This can mean a plethora of different things, and only someone with specific orthopedic knowledge is going to be able to accurately diagnose the issue.
At OrthoCare, the average patient is in and out in 70 minutes with a cast on, ready to begin healing. What if, instead of heading straight for the ER, folks said to themselves “let me drive 15 more minutes to not only save hours of my day, but to get somebody who specializes in orthopedics. Almost everybody who comes through the doors at OrthoNow has been to another doctor first, but they’re out to change that. In this country, we can make healthcare more efficient by seeing the right specialist at the right time.
Know What Surgeons are Looking For
Last but not least, some solid advice for those medical entrepreneurs. Know what surgeons are looking for. They are hit up all the time with new technologies and treatment options. If you have a solid value proposition that’s good for the patient, and cost effective, you’ll get their attention. If it’s not cost effective, the surgeon as well as the patient are spending loads of money on something with little to no return for them.
If you’d like to learn more about franchising an OrthoNow clinic, you can head to OrthoNow and find all the relevant information. You can find Dr. Badia on LinkedIn, or at DrBadia.com
This post is based on an interview with Dr. Alejandro Badia from OrthoNow LLC. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to MedTech Gurus.
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Tom is a 35 year veteran in the Med Tech space. Having personally worked with dozens of new technologies. It is Tom's passion to enhance patient outcome by bringing new concepts and technologies that will help clinical performance.