Improving the Efficiency of Health Care Delivery With Medtel.com

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The new free Web tool aims to modernize the traditional mode of marketing medical devices and pharmaceuticals to health care providers.

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After covering hc1.com, an online tool that "aims to streamline the relationship between medical laboratories and health care providers," some Medgadget readers expressed interest in learning about other medical technologies that are meant to improve the efficiency of health care delivery. To this end, we recently had the opportunity to discover more about a free Web tool called Medtel.com that "helps doctors manage their interactions with pharmaceutical and medical device sales representatives more efficiently." The following is our interview with Medtel.com's director of public relations, Carrie L. Carrier, that sheds light not only on Medtel.com but on the current relationship between health care professionals and medical device/pharma sales representatives.

In a nutshell, what does Medtel.com do?

Medtel.com modernizes the traditional mode of marketing medical devices and pharmaceuticals to health care providers with an online search directory and social media platform designed to facilitate searches for medical devices and drugs as well as to optimize communication among health care providers and sales representatives. This platform takes the frustration and opacity out of the medical device/drug selection process. An intuitive, user-friendly interface simplifies the search for specific medical devices and pharmaceuticals, a process that has, up to now, been encumbered by administrative hassles and a lack of readily accessible information for comparing different products. Medical device and pharma searches on Medtel.com can be customized and conducted across multiple dimensions, including by company, product name, therapy area, treatment, and procedure.

Moreover, the two-way search directory allows both providers and sales reps to locate and communicate with one another more efficiently and consistently over time. Beyond a simple directory, Medtel.com makes the search results immediately actionable with embedded functions and communication tools that bring the doctor-rep dialogue to the next level.  Users can instantly email, message, query, and rate a provider or rep within the site to initiate contact, submit product inquiries, or request a mutually convenient in-person meeting based on posted call schedule data. The site also has a notes/clipboard feature that makes it easy for users to record their thoughts on a particular product or professional.

Equally important, the Medtel.com site provides an organizational framework in which users can retrieve, review, and compare/contrast interactions and product findings over time so that providers can allocate their time and attention to the products and reps most useful to them. At the same time, sales reps can use this data to concentrate their efforts on the physicians and practices most in need of their products and services. Unlike ad hoc communications across various sites and communication channels, those on Medtel.com can be consolidated to create a product /professional dossier of accreted data that allows for future efficiencies based on past information.

How will Medtel.com change medicine?

Medtel.com has the potential to change medicine and health care delivery in multiple ways, particularly with respect to: creating much-needed data standards in the online pharmaceutical and medical space; improving the flow of relevant product information; enabling a more efficient use of clinician and rep time; and ultimately ameliorating the quality of health care delivery.

There has been a substantial, technological push across most sectors of the health care industry in recent years, a change that has been long overdue.  What has been lacking in this push, however, is a set of viable standards that make data easy to consolidate, manage, retrieve, sort, compare, and safeguard. Medtel.com introduces these standards to the online segment of medical device and pharmaceutical marketing. Our platform provides a fast, intuitive way to conduct both broad and precise searches for medical devices and pharmaceuticals, with results that are organized and grouped by categories of your choosing, be it company, therapy area, procedure, condition, and so forth.

In creating a set of workable, efficient standards for the management and retrieval of certain health care data, Medtel.com has expedited the process of locating the appropriate device and pharmaceutical interventions, thereby saving clinicians time. We are all familiar with the axiom that time is money, but in health care, time is also potentially lifesaving.

In the long run, facilitating quick access to key information leads to improved quality of care, as reps and doctors are more easily empowered to present and select the safest, most effective devices/drugs for patients expeditiously. In economic parlance, this concept is known as "perfect information," a necessary precursor to an efficient market. An added benefit is generated by reducing the amount of time that doctors need to spend tracking down medical device and pharmaceutical information, resulting in their having more time to devote to patients.

One of our main goals is to partner with hospitals nationwide and provide free access to the Medtel.com platform for doctors, physicians' assistants, office managers, and hospital administrators.

What problem is Medtel.com trying to solve?

Three main forces coalesced to spur the creation of Medtel.com, the first two of which constitute challenges in the industry that Medtel.com wants to address. The three catalysts include: increased productivity pressures on medical device and pharma sales representatives amidst winnowed ranks; relentless scheduling demands constraining physicians' time; and the rapid assimilation of mobile devices into doctors' practices and hospitals over the past several years.

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