A survey by Bain found that nine in ten medics wanted in-person interactions with device salespeople before covid-19. As Mr van Biesen explains, many surgeons value advice from top-flight reps, who know their company's cutting-edge technologies better than doctors do, during complex surgeries. Some even depend on those reps to lay out preferred instruments before operations. Now Bain finds that more than 60% of surgeons foresee restrictions on such in-person contacts.
A prolonged period of restricted access could affect the industry in unexpected ways. Big companies may lose business from ambulatory-care centres, reckons Mr van Biesen.