A world without reps

A world without reps

As the blood glucose monitoring world continues to struggle with the impact of competitive bidding, Diabetic Investor has been hearing some interesting, sometimes off the wall rumors. Besides the continuing rumors regarding who will buy whom, one of the more intriguing rumors floating around is the idea that BGM sales reps will soon be a thing of the past. Given that nearly every BGM company have already announced major layoffs and more seem be to a forgone conclusion, the idea of eliminating sales reps entirely isn’t as crazy as it might seem.

The simple fact is sales reps carry a high cost and could be easily replaced by technology. Many BGM companies are beginning to realize that nearly function that was once performed by a human can be done just as effectively, perhaps more so, using technology. The unfortunate reality for BGM sales reps is that their employers in their zest to cut costs are running out of options, marketing and R&D budgets have been hit hard and even with the already known layoffs there are still too many sales reps.

More importantly given the changing nature of diabetes management combined with the healthcare reform, increasingly positions which were once handled by humans will be replaced by technology. Now this doesn’t mean that there will no human functions, rather in this highly competitive, commodity market where price is more important than performance, device companies must come to the realization they will have to do more with less.

In the real world, somewhere where most device companies do not live, physicians could care less which glucose monitor a patient uses. Like their patients the majority of physicians believe that since the monitor is an FDA approved device and all monitors do basically the same thing, the same way why be concerned with which particular system a patient uses. This is why most physicians when writing a script for a monitor are not brand specific. In the rare occurrence when they are brand specific it is typically at the request of the patient who must have a script written that way so they receive reimbursement.

Also in the real world when the physician or more likely the nurse needs information on a system, the first place they go is to the internet; same for the patient. The reality is the internet has become the primary source of information for patients, physicians and CDE’s.

Now some may say this is not change for the better, they are also the same people who don’t use an ATM, don’t own a smartphone and actually believe the Chicago Cubs have real chance of winning the World Series this year. Yet for the rest the reality is becoming clearer each day.