3 Strategies to Improve Rep Collaboration


Medical device reps are trained to support their product in the OR. Unless there are some very unique and specific cleaning instructions, it’s unlikely IFU’s were a topic of conversation during the rep’s training on the product. It would be more likely that the first time they heard, “IFU,” was from the SPD manager when trying to deliver the tray.

So when it comes to IFU details from a rep: trust but verify.

Most of what reps know about SPD is purely experiential. They're exposed to dozens of SPD’s, each with different protocols and policies. Enforcement of all the different rules and requirements vary greatly between each department and manager as well.

Reps end up following the path of least resistance to getting their equipment correctly processed before and after the case. So, it seems SPD is on the same page in this regard, and It should be an opportunity to collaborate in achieving this mutual goal.

Opportunities for collaboration:

  • Point-of-use care - (if allowed) let the rep know how they can help organize their equipment prior to decontam to help your staff more safely and efficiently clean and process the instruments. This also helps reduce lost/missing instrumentation.

  • Resetting/Assembly – make it clear as to who is responsible for what. When possible, request images, instructions, to ensure the right equipment is available when needed.

  • Inservice on the products – this allows the rep to show SPD how the product works in the OR so that SPD can see the importance of each part and how they work together.

For any of these to work, it requires a foundation of mutual respect between reps and SPD. Mistakes will happen, but they quickly become learning opportunities if each side can see the other is trying their hardest to live up to their end of the bargain.