Clark Wiederhold

Educating Physicians About Your Medical Device: What’s Working Now

Let’s look at what’s working now in medical device physician education.

If you’re in MedTech, you know that physician education goes deeper than a presentation and discussion of product features and benefits. At some point, physicians need (and crave) that hands-on experience.

But what defines “hands-on” experience these days?

Pre-pandemic, you could walk into the office, introduce yourself, and demonstrate your device or technology, highlighting the benefits for their patients and other important details – getting that practical information covered in person. Yes, you likely needed an appointment, but the fact of the matter is that we’re living in a different world now and the last year has driven many of us to stumble our way into virtual platforms – and from the looks of it, much of that is here to stay in a new, hybrid type of model.

So how does that affect your physician education programs?  

What MedTech Reps Are Doing

As we learned from Transplant Specialist David Moser and MedTech thought leader Omar Kateeb in our discussions on the Medical Sales Accelerator Podcast, physicians and MedTech companies are turning to digital platforms, and social media to learn and connect.

“The fact of the matter is that a physician is no different than you and I, they're human beings. They don't go home and take their white coat off and say, ‘Okay, now I'm a consumer. I'm going to get on social media.’ Those are all the same thing.”

The truth is, the adoption of virtual or remote platforms is here to stay, according to MedTechDive. We couldn’t agree more – and it’s something we’ve seen first-hand with many of our MedTech and specialty practice clients.

What You Can Do Now (That You Couldn’t Do Before)

There is nothing wrong with the traditional in-person approach to physician education. You’ve been doing it for decades and it’s been working. But, virtual events can help you maximize your time in ways that traditional methods can’t touch.

Until we get a human clone machine (we know some of you may be working on that), there’s no way to be in multiple places at once – which is the blessing of virtual education!

Getting more people in the (virtual) room to discuss the product

When MedTech reps are educating physicians in person, there are physical constraints involved, such as:

  • You can only have so many people in a room at a doctor’s office, wet lab, or conference center.
  • If you’re showing a procedure, there’s only so much room in the operating theater.
  • If you’re running a booth at an expo, you can physically only talk to so many people at a time.

Virtual education and events set you free from the dimensions of the space you’re physically in. You can allow a nearly unlimited number of people to watch live during a procedure.

Creating better physician-to-physician discussions

Allowing physicians to collaborate and share the experience is powerful for you. After all, it’s much more powerful for a physician customer to see what a peer is doing before they want to learn more.

For example – this is one of the reasons why Clubhouse was so hot during the lockdowns. Industry professionals could have powerful conversations with their peers about things that mattered to them.

Education and training on your product via platforms like Zoom or Go-to-Webinar allows you to bring on other physicians that are already using your technology to share their experiences. You can also create opportunities for them to discuss your product themselves and ask questions.

Being in multiple places at once, hundreds of miles apart

Before, seeing other physicians or speaking with you was limited to physical locations. Having to travel too far or be away from their practices for too long would make it harder for physicians to make time to attend expos or events where you had a booth.

It also meant that you had to travel to meet them where they are. But with virtual events, you can bring people together from all around the world without the time or expense that it takes to travel.

Physicians can make time to speak with you much more quickly when it’s a simple matter of sitting down at their computer wherever they are, signing into your event, and then not having to travel back home when they’re done.

Removing geographical barriers allows you to meet with more physicians in less time and still deliver an amazing experience.

Ideas for Going Virtual with Your Physician Education

The benefits truly are endless, but if you’re like most of our clients, you value action items and next steps to put this into practice.

If you’re wanting to leverage virtual education for your physician customers, here are a few ideas to consider:

1. Stream a procedure around the world to an unlimited number of physicians. This has been a growing trend that’s been around for a while, but definitely gained steam during the last year. We recently spoke on the Medical Sales Accelerator podcast with Jim Surek about how digital technologies, like ExplORer Surgical, are empowering—not replacing—reps.  

Source: IBM Watson – Read more about streaming procedures on their website.

2. Host question and answer sessions that can include your R&D product teams.

3. Invite patients to give testimonials live to your physicians.

4. Feature a number of your customers in a panel-style discussion where they can talk about how they’re using your product, features, benefits, etc.

5. Feature a Q&A session with actual questions from patients that you can answer live with physicians who use the technology.  For example, our team has seen this type of education be very impactful for clients because it allows physicians to become more comfortable with answering the questions patients are likely to ask. Since there can be fear of the unknown, this type of session can bring much-needed clarity.


Are there any virtual strategies you’ve tried in the last year that have worked well? Let us know. We’d love to incorporate them into this article, or maybe even feature the conversation over on the podcast!