The owner's manual (a.k.a. instruction manual a.k.a. user's guide) may be one of the oldest forms of training. With the exception of moving from paper to digital, the manual has not changed...until now. In August, Audi launched its interactive Augmented Reality (AR) Manual, which brings us to the premise of this blog. Can medical device companies follow a car company's lead? Before we continue, click on the video below and watch Audi's AR manual in action:
Impressed? Well, you should be. Audi took the manual and made it into a user-centric tool that provides instant results based on your specific point of view. For medical devices, the applications of AR are endless. The greatest benefit may be that an AR app could be designed to meet the educational and training needs of the sales rep, hospital employee, and even the patient, with little forethought. As a sales trainer, your primary concern is the rep. The tools at your disposal are likely to be print, live workshops, and simulators. AR needs to be in the mix.
Your reps are expected to teach physicians and other hospital employees about the product and in many cases, troubleshoot technology. Imagine your reps being able to open an app and scan over a set of bone screws and getting pop-ups on how each works, along with key talking points for the physician. On the device side, AR can help train a rep on operating the device or interpreting error messages quickly. Trainers responsible for a 1099 rep workforce may benefit the most from AR. The reps could download the AR app to their mobile device and practice on their own.
Image from "Inside the iSurgery Operation" By Fabian Bimmer
In the image above, a doctor views a 3D overlay on an actual patient. AR technology is already in the operating room now. Putting this technology in the hands of reps seems a logical extension. Not only does it provide a new training medium for reps, but it can also create a more engaging sales and training process between the rep and physician.
If you think AR still has a ways to go before becoming mainstream, consider this, "A report from Juniper Research predicts that in 2013 AR apps on mobiles will generate revenues of almost $300 million, and that by 2017 2.5 billion AR apps will be downloaded onto mobiles or tablets every year." - (Augmented reality—no longer the stuff of movies).
So what do you think? Will medical device trainers follow Audi and embrace AR? Comment below!