My Personal Journey with Med One
Written By: Ibby Smith-Stofer
Everyone I know has a story around why they started their career. For me, the process of choosing my career was not all that unique. In a lot of ways, it made sense given my background. At a young age, I lost my dad due to an aneurysm, and my mom was a registered nurse. From these experiences, the medical field was a natural draw, but experience 'candy striping' showed me that hands-on patient care was not for me. I still wanted to stay close to patient care. I spent 30 plus years working for the market-leading infusion company, Alaris Medical. While I was there, the company underwent multiple mergers, acquisitions, and name changes. Throughout those years, my passion for helping customers was foremost in all that I did. I was often chided for always putting the customer first! Simultaneously, the company recognized my dedication to the customers and valued this as one of my strengths. The following is my story based off of my experiences with Med One.
Following the merger of IMED and IVAC, the first modular smart pump technology was introduced. It took our deal size at Alaris Medical (the average cost of acquisition for hospitals) from a few thousand dollars to seven figures. These purchases included software and implementation services. Customers loved the technology and knew it could help them prevent errors. Hospital finance departments understood the useful life of infusion pumps, but they had budgeted for similar replacement costs. New technology and its associated cost left most unprepared. The gap between traditional technology replacement budget and the new system was staggering and dramatically slowed the adoption due to lack of capital budgets.
The blended company was in the middle of a corporate merger, and the debt structure meant that we needed to receive cash at the time of sale. The rate we had to charge customers who required term payments was very unattractive to the hospital CFOs and our corporate finance department. How could we solve this conflict? It was critical to find an answer and to do it quickly.
A cross-functional team was created to find a solution. Our group included the CFO, VP of Sales, VP of Marketing, the VP of Customer Service, and myself. I led an initiative to find a financial service company with the following priorities.
1) They will offer our customers a way to pay for the system over time.
2) They will provide us with the up front cash for the full system.
3) They will have an interest rate than we could offer to customers.
We reached out to our existing banking resources, national banks, and leasing companies. We, like our healthcare customers, used an extensive RFP process and narrowed our selection to the top five.
Sitting in presentations with well-known banks and leasing companies was an education. I learned a lot about how they viewed the opportunity and their method of qualifying customers. It was interesting to see their willingness to provide flexibility and fund not only the equipment but also the software and services that our smart pumps included. Most of the companies did not offer funding software or services since there were no assets to attach in the event of failure to pay. Additionally, discussions on sales support and training showed that most of the competitors were unprepared to offer any of that. Rate cards, lengthy credit approvals, standard documents, and non-guaranteed rates were the norm. Our sales process and customer approvals were long, rates needed to be fixed for 60+ days.
Many team members saw name recognition in a partner as more important than the importance of flexibility, responsiveness, and creativity.
In the end, the customer and sales-based attributes won out, and the partnership with Med One began. During our RFP process, Med One did not come to our meetings with a PowerPoint. They came to learn about us, our customers, our sales force, and what we believed would make a difference. They questioned, they listened, and then they answered. Again, they listened to our reactions and responses and made changes when they received feedback. This approach, in my opinion, was what made them stand out and ultimately succeed in becoming not only a resource but also trusted advisors to us at Alaris Medical. That relationship has survived and continues to thrive.“No matter what technology or services they may be representing, they know the levels of support and flexibility Med One brings to the customer.
As our relationship and technology progressed, the need to understand and learn how leasing could help our sales representatives overcome the "no budget" or "too expensive" objections increased. Med One allowed us to reach out beyond our supply chain and clinical contacts and understand and serve the needs of the financial decision-makers. We knew that technology would improve patient care, reduce risk, and support the clinicians' desire to "do no harm." Meeting the needs and concerns of finance was new to our sales teams, and we did not have to walk that road alone. Med One was there with personalized service that included asking questions, guidance on how to select the right options for our customer's needs, and they even joined us on calls with customers. Simply stated, Med One became an integral part of the Alaris solution.
We didn't win every time, but we did build long-lasting relationships based on how we worked with the customers. Many of Alaris (IVAC/CareFusion/Cardinal Health/BD) sales representatives have changed employment over time and have taken Med One with them. No matter what technology or services they may be representing, they know the levels of support and flexibility Med One brings to the customer.
Personally, my career took a different twist and turn. After 30+ years, I found myself on the outside of yet another acquisition. I did independent consulting for hospitals and companies, but I was still hungry for corporate life and the sense of being part of a team that was making a difference in healthcare. Fortunately for me, Med One has allowed me to have a second career. I have had many roles and truly enjoyed them over the past nine years.
Med One continues to provide exceptional service to both hospitals and device companies while simultaneously appreciating their employees and providing them the opportunity to learn and grow.
I am immensely grateful for my journey with Med One. Our lease division, peak-need rental team, off-lease equipment sales, international representatives, and biomedical staff are all ready to extend the personal service and understand your business challenges. We are committed to making medical equipment available and are here to serve you as healthcare providers.Prev Article