Opportunities in the OB-GYN Office - The New Reality in Women's
New OB/Gyn Brings New Opportunities
Used to be that the OB/GYN's office was the place only for
pregnant women and those with "female troubles,"
but no longer. Today, many women name their OB/GYN as their
primary care physician, who is now charged with overseeing
the total health of their patients.
visits are just as likely to address cholesterol levels and
the patient's chances for osteoporosis as they are fertility
and menopause. This specialty, which for years was among those
that provided the least amount "in-office" testing,
now presents huge opportunities. Let's explore some of them.
Since gestational diabetes during pregnancy is not uncommon
(approximately 135,000 cases of gestational diabetes occur
annually in the U.S.), the OB/GYN has always been concerned
about glucose levels-but generally only in expectant mothers.
OB/GYNs already do glucose screening with one of the many
glucose meters available. For those patients at risk, OB/GYNs
either perform Glucose Tolerance Tests (GTT) in-house, or
send them out. For a GTT, the patient drinks a substance containing
a set amount of glucose (usually 50mg), then she is tested
three times over a three hour period to see how well the glucose
has broken down. During the pregnancy, the patient is monitored
(using glucose, Hemoglobin A1c or fructosamine) and may be
prescribed medication as well as dietary changes.
opportunity with glucose testing extends beyond gestational
diabetes. In the overall U.S. population, diabetes has become
epidemic, affecting more than 15.7 million Americans. Unchecked
diabetes leads to a number of other disease states, such as
congestive heart failure, kidney (renal) failure, and neuropathy.
Earlier generations believed that developing a hunchback or
"widow's hump" was a foregone conclusion for an
older woman. But with recent advances in the detection and
treatment of osteoporosis, this condition could become a thing
of the past.
to the National Institutes of Health, there are approximately
10 million patients diagnosed with osteoporosis, while an
additional estimated 18 million have low bone mass and are
not yet diagnosed or in treatment. One and a half million
fractures a year are caused by osteoporosis at a cost of about
$14 billion annually.
opportunity for selling bone densitometers to physician offices
is phenomenal. When osteoporosis is discovered early enough,
there is a wide array of treatments available. Instrumentation
is available as smaller screening devices or large table models.
According to statistics from the American Heart Association
(1998), coronary heart disease (CHD) accounted for 226,467
deaths among women-almost 49.2% of all deaths, more than from
any other disease.
is frequently a result of atheroschlerosis, arteriosclerosis,
or the narrowing of at least two arteries. Death can be sudden-five
to seven minutes-but the survival rate improves dramatically
in areas where defibrillation is used immediately. If the
physician prescribes medication such as any of the "statins,"
they also need to perform tests for liver function.
testing is a must for primary care physicians. CLIA waived
instrumentation is available that performs lipid profiles
and liver function testing.
Some of the other screening tests recommended for females
strips: Every age, every visit
blood: Annually for women over 40
factor: Every pregnant woman
Annually for women over 19
Annually for women over 40
sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy: Every ten years over 40
testing: Sexually active women
To Sell To OB/GYNs In Your Territory
You need to find out what tests the OB/Gyns in your territory
are performing, as well as where they purchase their equipment
and test materials.
Ask specific questions when you meet with them. Instead of
asking, "Do you do any testing?" ask "Do you
have any patients with gestational diabetes?" Target
questions so that you get actual answers, and involve them
in the process. Always listen! Let them talk. If you are committed
to making a presentation and talking you will never hear their
do you treat osteoporosis?
do you identify patients with osteoporosis?
do you treat your patients with high cholesterol?
do you monitor your patients with gestational diabetes?
you see patients for STDs?
are not a medical educator, but you can remind them about
medical facts and alternatives. Have those facts at hand.
Don't push, but encourage. Let them talk and they will lead
you to the next question and the next answer to their needs.