Dr. Luks WON’T See You Now, Unless …

Orthopedist Howard LuksWhat a pleasure it was to have highly influential sports medicine expert Dr. Howard Luks as our #MedDevice guest this evening.

Medical Device Marketers take note: Howard won’t see you unless you have a real medical device innovation.

Doctors, if you read this, please leave a comment. Is Howard talking for all of you?

Joe Hage: I want to jump right in with a long question.

Howard Luks Go ahead.

Joe Hage: When we first met, I tried to connect with you on LinkedIn. You said, “I hate LinkedIn. People try to sell me s*** 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.

Joe Hage: 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.

The worst offenders were the EMR cos, physician group consultants, rev cycle mgmt company reps

Joe Hage: So these are direct solicitations to your inbox?

Howard Luks: Yes, these were direct inbox contacts.

Joe Hage: 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.

Joe Hage: 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.

Joe Hage: 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 r exposed to during training.

Joe Hage: Nate, tell me what you mean by “humility” in this context.

Howard Luks: Hi, Nate. I agree with you.


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.

Joe Hage: 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.

Smith & Nephew has some interesting data to support DTC ads re: 30 yr knee and MD utilization

Joe Hage: 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.

Joe Hage: 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.

Joe Hage: I’m thinking influencing you to try a new product has got to be very hard!

I need more than I shiny new object... I need DATA to support changing my current methods

Joe Hage: What can $SNN’s competitors do to get you to try their product? Is there anything?

Howard Luks: Full disclosure… I use Smith and Nephews components on most cases… and DePuy for most revisions.

Joe Hage: 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.

Many patients will present asking for rotating platform knee which Depuy makes.... in some cases, I will entertain that component

Joe Hage: 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 and Nephew.

Joe Hage: Do you have a point of view 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.

Joe Hage: 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?

tough question... I switched cos about 7 yrs ago... due to rep issues... not issues related to cos per se

Joe Hage: 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.

Joe Hage: Does anybody get past your administrator? Do 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.

Joe Hage: 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.

Joe Hage: 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.

New product must have clear value add... cost, inventory control, svc line improvements, etc ... otherwise they dont get in door

Joe Hage: Two quick closing questions. What are your ACO plans?

Howard Luks: I’m not privy to my institutions ACO goals or objectives.

Joe Hage: Are you part of a GPO?

Howard Luks: Yes… we are. We use MedAssets, and one other. Freq use RFP for prosthetics, etc.

Joe Hage: Howard, this was great. Thank you so very much for joining us.

Howard Luks: My pleasure… thanks for having me!!!

bring value, bring innovation, but don't bring bagels

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  1. This is all very interesting and I very much appreciate the insight. As a company that custom manufactures medical models, we want to try and better understand the sales/surgeon interaction in order to bring value to the relationship. We do this by providing medical device companies (reps) better tools that more fully show a devices “innovative” features and benefits while also providing surgeons an interesting, hands-on concept that “backs up the data.” I’m curious to know how much value does a hands-on demo model bring to the discussion? Are they adequate in showing the F/B’s of a device? Do models indeed facilitate the sales/education process?

    Jim TenBrink

  2. Yes, I have got a real medical device innovation, Patented and just now ready for the market

  3. Steve Annunziato says:

    Thank you for facilitating another very valuable discussion. This is especially interesting because Dr Luks see’s so little value in most new technologies being presented.

    Dr Luks:
    Thank you for taking time to clarify for sales and marketing professional that they generally need to bring to the table something more than a smile, handshake and ask for your business.

    From your discussion you maintain a relationship with two companies. If you would indulge us, you allowed the Depuy representative to carve out the revision portion of your practice. I assume their was a technical/clinical reason to use two systems that he brought to your attention. Every supplier ads work for you with administration in endorsing the different product and price for that product. If you wouldn’t mind, would you share the successful approach the Depuy used? Did you first learn about the technology through a conference booth contact? Perhaps a clinical paper presented on the technical benefits? Alternately, did the representative approach you directly in the OR or ask to schedule a short meeting in your office?

    I’m always interested in hearing about how physicians alter their paradigm on what was first perceived as a commodity. Thank you.

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