The macro forces changing healthcare today – e.g., physician/hospital alignment, value-based purchasing, reimbursement cuts, etc. – are affecting medical products distributors in a macro way. And those changes are reflected in how individual sales reps are approaching their customers. Speaking at the Welch Allyn “Dialogue on the New Healthcare Marketplace,” a panel of distribution executives that included Henry Schein Medical President Dave McKinley explained.

McKinley said his company is focused on the “C”s of the industry, starting with the C-suite. But there’s also the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, chronic care prevention and wellness, clinical outcomes, comparative effectiveness, consolidation, etc. Two of the weightier C words are “change” and “customers.”


“Our customers are changing,” said McKinley. The decision-makers in physician practices are becoming more business-oriented, forcing distributors to approach them in a new way. “We have to follow our customers,” he said. Those customers are leading the distributor to new places, such as larger group practices, community health centers and IDNs. At the same time, patients are receiving more care at home. Henry Schein – and society at large – has to figure out how to address the chronic diseases and conditions that affect a large portion of the population.


All of these big-picture trends are affecting sales reps, said McKinley. In the past, each sales rep controlled the physician office business on a short term, day-to-day basis. Even pricing was influenced to a large extent by the local rep. Today, Schein customers are making more strategic buying decisions, he said. “We’re looking for a long-term institutional relationship.”


Look for Henry Schein to continue to practice a “customer-centric” rather than “product-centric” approach to the market, particularly as physician practices become more business-oriented, said McKinley. “We think we can help our customers run better practices if they allow us to get closer to them. We want to bring more to our customers to allow them to find ways to increase revenues and lower costs. How can we help them communicate with their customer base as well as other physicians?


Henry Schein is specializing its sales force in order to address different segments of the market. The specialty sales force continues to focus on those segments that probably will remain independent of hospitals for the foreseeable future, such as dermatology, ENT and sports medicine. As a result of all these changes, selling has become much more of a team effort, McKinley said. That reflects what’s happening among its customers, he pointed out.


And, like its customers and society at large, Henry Schein takes prevention and wellness very seriously, said McKinley. For example, its “Health Home®: Solutions for Coordinating Prevention and Wellness” program combines the company’s medical and oral health offerings to community health care centers, including supplies and equipment, electronic health care records software, health center design and planning; and 340B drug pricing, diagnostic, and influenza vaccine programs.


 “We’re repositioning our company to be a network of trusted advisors. We can bring a lot of expertise to our customers.”

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