One medical supplies manufacturer trains its salespeople to practice what they preach.
The following story was told by Kevin Glover, vice president of corporate communications, clinical education, and training at B. Braun Medical Inc.; and Connie Murray, director of clinical education and training at B. Braun.
B. Braun Medical Inc., a manufacturer of infusion therapy and pain management products
By the end of 2007, the sales of one of B. Brauns flagship products, the Introcan Safety IV catheter, had slowed to 1.5 percent despite a concerted investment of staff and company resources. Additionally, customer trial-to-conversions came in at 25 percent, with retention rates measured at only 40 percent six months post-conversion.
The sales representatives didnt feel that they had the clinical expertise necessary to establish credibility with their customers or correctly set expectations for use of the IV catheter. A learning-style survey showed that the salesforce collectively held a variety of learning styles, which led B. Braun to create a new blended training program.
B. Braun designed the program to include product training via learning modules, peer coaching, and a teach-back component, followed by hands-on didactic training during live classroom sessions. Then, in September 2010, B. Braun launched a two-day simulation training program. The goal was for reps to repetitively practice placing the IV catheter through scenario-based simulation training so they could understand what clinicians experienced when they used the product.
The simulations component is designed as follows:
Day One: Participants take a pre-test to determine their current knowledge of venipuncture. Part of this assessment includes the reps' immersion within a real-life scenario. They are asked to place an IV catheter using a "demo arm" with blood pressure and fake blood. Participants receive grades based on a 30-point checklist. Following the pre-test, a nurse teaches a venipuncture certification course.
Day Two: Participants are placed on a computer simulator with a haptics device (which allows them to "feel" the virtual IV catheter insertion) and practice the process of placing the IV catheter. The reps coach one another and engage in clinical discussions while completing the scenarios.
The training concludes with a real-life scenario in which participants work on a patient who is wearing a demo arm. The reps are assigned a scenario and tasked with selecting the correct supplies and placing the IV catheter. An observer uses the 30-point checklist to grade the reps performance improvement. Participants also complete a written post-training test to measure their knowledge gain.
B. Brain has documented a 22 to 25 percent increase in participants' knowledge and skills. Since the company relaunched the Introcan Safety IV catheter with the new training program, customer trial-to-conversion rates have increased to 95 percent and customer retention rates have increased to better than 85 percent six months post-conversion.