Stryker CEO Kevin Lobo: The hospital OR is no longer 'the center of our universe'

Spinal Tech

During the Virtual MedTech Conference hosted by AdvaMed Oct. 5-7, medical device industry leaders reflected on how COVID-19 has affected healthcare volumes and reshaped future strategy.

Three insights from panelists, as reported by Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry:

1. Bill Hawkins, retired CEO of Medtronic and chairman of the board at Duke University Hospital in Durham, N.C. "Honestly, I would not have expected things to have rebounded as quickly as they have, but we [at Duke University Hospital] are about 102 percent of prior year volume. A number of those cases are backlog cases, and we expect to work through the end of the backlog probably about the end of October. We had about 7,000 cases backlogged due to COVID. At the same time, with the amount of new cases coming in, we think that by the end of October/November timeframe, we could be back to 100 percent of where we were pre-COVID."

2. Tom Polen, president and CEO of BD: "Exiting June, we saw interventional procedures at 80 percent. In July, we saw that go up to 85 percent, and you could see that vary by acuity of the procedure."

Hernia surgery and peripheral vascular disease procedures were among the procedures with more robust volumes, while screening-based procedure volumes have been lower, Mr. Polen added.

3. Kevin Lobo, CEO of Stryker: "We're tracking north of 80 percent [of 2019 levels]" for procedure volumes in the spine surgery realm. "There is a monumental shift that will occur over the next decade of procedures moving out of the hospital toward surgery centers. This is already a movement that had started prior to the pandemic, and it's just accelerating tremendously.

"... We've had to change our company. The center of our universe was the hospital operating room, and you cannot show up the same way to a surgery center with 22 sales reps all calling on the surgery center. They're not able to receive that. I think the medtech companies that are in the hospital OR as the center of gravity have to change their approach and really have a different offense for their surgery centers. It's a big change for us."

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