I recently ran into this situation, and it wasn’t the first time. A pediatric office called to ask my advice for running T.Bili (Total Bilirubin, a test to quantify jaundice in a newborn). They explained that they had just replaced their old analyzer with a new one of the same model. The doctors were unhappy with the results. I suggested a different analyzer, one that is rated for neonate bilirubins, easier to run, faster, more accurate and less expensive, which meets all my criteria for a new procedure.


I instructed the lab manager to contact the sales rep and ask for the recommended analyzer by name. The sales rep said she had not heard of the analyzer, and that her company did not carry it. I was quite certain that this large medical distributor carried this analyzer, or at least used to. I finally spoke with the sales rep directly. She had asked other reps and they had not heard of it either. After searching her company catalog, she found it.


Because this analyzer is, in my opinion, the best way to perform neonate bilirubins, this rep will be able to keep this account and recommend it to her other pediatric offices. Many offices would like to perform this test, and they rely on their medical supplier to assist them in getting the right analyzer for the tests. Hopefully, this sales rep will pass along the information about the long lost analyzer, generating revenue for the distributor and the practice, and providing a great service to help treat newborns.


This is an example of an item that works great but gets lost in an oversized inventory. How it got lost is another concern, probably because the manufacturer does not market it like they did in the past.


There are hundreds of different lab tests and analyzers to run them. Keeping up with new product lines can be time consuming but worth the effort.


Here are some tips for keeping up with what is available to you and your customers:


  • Take time to go through your company’s list of lab tests and analyzers. If you don’t recognize a test/analyzer, make a point to find out what it’s used for.
  • Request inventory updates to keep track of new procedures and find those that may be obsolete.
  • Use the experience of senior reps or lab specialists to assess the best test/analyzer for your clients’ needs.
  • Share any new discoveries and success with your friends in the biz.
  • Use these four comparison points to evaluate a test/analyzer: easier to run, faster turnaround time, more accurate results, and, of course, less expensive.


Lab consultants are always a good resource. Having this information will make you a stand-out.


Knowing the best fit for your customer will make you a great sales rep. Helping provide better medicine is just the right thing to do.


— By Tim Dumas

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