april 29, 2013  by 

Here’s an idea for Google Glass: Give them to surgeons to use to connect with a remotely stationed medical device representative during a procedure. That way, the reps could provide on-demand support to the surgeon in real time and see exactly what he sees without actually having to be present.

That’s one future application that Paul Schultz, co-founder and head of product development for mobile health startup Nurep, is especially excited about. Nurep is trying to disrupt the practice of having medical device sales reps present in the operating room during every procedure where devices are used or implanted. The idea is that medical device companies can provide just as good, or even better, support to hospital customers and be more efficient with fewer reps by providing on-demand, remote customer support through mobile devices and live video.

Medical device companies will contract with Nurep and install the app on their reps’ mobile devices. Their hospital and surgical center customers also get access to the platform, although Schultz said the company is still working out the go-to market strategy for that part of the model.


Hospital operating room staff will use the platform on an iPad, where surgeons and staff can review a device’s instruction manual plus videos and educational materials before the procedure. They can also put the iPad in a sterile sleeve and bring it into the operating room, where they can place a call to a medical device representative who can answer questions during surgery.

The platform uses the iPad’s camera and the hospital’s wireless connection to enable video conferencing so the rep can get a view of the surgical site. Schultz said that since the platform is secure and doesn’t collect or store patient data, it falls outside of the realm of HIPAA compliance, but meets the requirements anyway.

“The big differentiating factor, as opposed to anything else that’s out there, is we’re transforming customer engagement model from one-to-one to one-to-many,” Schultz said. Typically a medical device company would designate one representative to a certain geographic territory, which requires lots of travel for the rep and careful scheduling for the hospital.

On this platform, when a surgeon requests on-demand support, Nurep’s product uses a proprietary algorithm to select an available rep by location and connectivity. That way, the physician doesn’t have to schedule surgery around one rep and each rep can be available for more procedures.

Schultz said the product is built and being beta tested by early physician adopters. It’s gotten that far with $20,000 from its physician adviser, Dr. Edward Bender, and an additional $20,000 from Blueprint Health, which selected Nurep for its winter 2013 class. Now the two-year-old company is looking to raise a seed round and, if all goes as planned, should be ready to launch with at least its first two medical device customers by the end of August.

[Photo from Nurep website]

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