Highly influential sports medicine expert Dr. Howard Luks (he’s #10 from a “Klout” perspective on the Twitter Doctor List) recently sat down with #MedDevice chat, which provided the following transcript for Repertoire readers to help navigate through social media efforts effectively.
Companies mentioned in this post: Biomet, Smith & Nephew, and DePuy Orthopedics.
#MedDevice: I want to jump right in with a long question.
Howard Luks Go ahead.
#MedDevice: When we first met, I tried to connect with you on LinkedIn. You said, “I hate LinkedIn. People try to sell me stuff on there!” You were saying, you hate how everyone is using social media as a means of selling you stuff.
Howard Luks: Yes… I do remember saying that I feel that many physicians on LinkedIn simply have targets on their back… for salespeople to assault us.
#MedDevice: Why are you on LinkedIn at all? What kinds of solicitations do you get?
Howard Luks: I engaged on LinkedIn to follow a lot of groups which initially appeared interesting. With time, it became apparent that I was too much of a target… so my interest dwindled. I receive solicitations from consultants, HIT companies, writers, etc.
#MedDevice: So these are direct solicitations to your inbox?
Howard Luks: Yes, these were direct inbox contacts.
#MedDevice: What’s the pitch? Dear “Doctor I don’t know personally,” can I demo my fantastic product for you?
Howard Luks: Close…. they began with a simple hello… and if I replied they immediately tried to go into pitch mode.
#MedDevice: Is this just a LinkedIn phenomenon? Are you assaulted elsewhere online with solicitations?
Howard Luks: Surprisingly… I have not found the same true of Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus.
Howard Luks: I think the broad answer to that question is yes… they can reach us both directly and indirectly. Direct… takes time to build these contacts… get to know me… allow me to know you… then we can talk about product lines. If med device company is available online, I would utilize soc med to perhaps reach out with q’s regarding new product development.
#MedDevice: So you would go on Twitter if the company is there and tweet a question, is that it?
Howard Luks: Yes, I might approach a company with a Twitter presence via a private message if I have a specific need or question.
A big area to nurture friendships is to try and engage with residents… who tend to remain loyal to brands they are exposed to during training.
#MedDevice: Nate, tell me what you mean by “humility” in this context.
Howard Luks: Hi, Nate. I agree with you.
Nate Osit: “HI!! HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT OUR AWESOME ***??? IT’S THE BEST IN THE INDUSTRY!!! COMPLETELY UNIQUE AND INNOVATIVE!”
Howard Luks: @NateOsit, I hear that a lot…. but I never bite!
Nate Osit: Usually perpetrated by PR folks who don’t really know much about other products, and just use talking points.
Howard Luks: No doubt, Nate… they are very worried about social media exposure.
Nate Osit: I think one of the biggest issue medical device marketing in SM space is that there’s a fundamental misunderstanding of SM value.
#MedDevice: Howard, you mentioned some direct techniques to reach you. How about indirect ones?
Howard Luks: Indirect methods. Less concrete… harder to measure… but patients can drive physician adoption… data on 30yr knee shows this. My own personal experience also supports this… I have many patients asking specifically for the 30 yr knee.
#MedDevice: Great Smith & Nephew ($SNN) example. Sounds like traditional media though. Was there any social media element to the campaign?
Howard Luks: It was primarily a traditional media campaign… supported by online info/content and physician locator.
#MedDevice: So at least the physician locator is online …
Howard Luks: Yes, the locator is online. I happen to be a Smith & Nephew user… however, I know from discussions with other orthopedists that a number jumped over to them. Orthopedic device companies are not big users of social media, per se.
#MedDevice: I’m thinking influencing you to try a new product has got to be very hard!
#MedDevice: What can $SNN’s competitors do to get you to try their product? Is there anything?
Howard Luks: Full disclosure… I use Smith & Nephews components on most cases… and DePuy for most revisions.
#MedDevice: Can you help me understand “revisions?”
Howard Luks: A primary case is a patient’s first knee replacement… a *virgin* knee… a revision involves removing old components and revising the knee with other components. Reasons for revision include loosening or infection.
#MedDevice: So DePuy is also effectively using DTC. Is that right?
Howard Luks: Yes… DePuy has been active in DTC for a long time… not as successful as Smith & Nephew.
#MedDevice: Do you have a POV about Biomet?
Howard Luks: I don’t have strong views about Biomet. In the world of total knee replacements, if you place components correctly, the patient should do well. It is manufacturer agnostic.
#MedDevice: You have components you’ve been using for years, relationships built since residency … so what hope or approach does a #MedDevice company have to engage you?
#MedDevice: Do you typically get company reps calling on you? Or medical distribution companies? #MedDevice or both?
Howard Luks: Yes… all the time. But unless there is a very good reason to switch companies I’m not interested. Too many me-too one off products out there… a significant interest in price controls, rev cycle mgmt… so vry hard to break in.
#MedDevice: Does anybody get past your administrator? #MedDeviceDo you look at direct mail at all?
Howard Luks: Direct mail is a waste of a forest…. reps can approach if they have something interesting to improve cost, or efficiency.
#MedDevice: And I’ll assume there’s no amount of quarterly promotions that will sway you … correct?
Howard Luks: Correct.
Nate Osit: @hjluks There’s also significant costs involved in switching companies, right? Does anyone ever try to mitigate that?
Howard Luks: @NateOsit we do by trying not to switch unless there is a very good reason to do so.
#MedDevice: Do you read physical magazines / journals? Do ads catch your attention at all?
Howard Luks: I read the ads… but usually one off me too products… so very little interest in majority.
#MedDevice: Two quick closing questions. What are your ACO plans?
Howard Luks: I’m not privy to my institution’s ACO goals or objectives.
#MedDevice: Are you part of a GPO?
Howard Luks: Yes… we are. We use MedAssets, and one other. Freq use RFP for prosthetics, etc.
#MedDevice: Howard, this was great. Thank you so very much for joining us.
Howard Luks: My pleasure… thanks for having me!!!
Join the #MedDevice Chat Group on LinkedIn to network and grow your business. #MedDevice is held every Thursday, 8 p.m. EST. We cover issues including Sales, Reimbursement, Distribution, EMRs/HIT, FDA, and Marketing Medical Devices.