Who’s the Guy in the Black Hat?

March 11, 2009 at 2:56 pm 1 comment

There was a time when clothing colors made statements.  Good guys wore white hats.  Bad guys wore black.  Serious business men wore white shirts.  No one attending the wedding would wear black because black was the color of mourning, and only the bride wore white.  (In the U.S. at least.  Of course in Asia, white is commonly a mourning color.)  In some hospitals, vendor reps are required to wear black scrubs.  

But color alone isn’t enough to tell who’s who.  Oh, remnants of these practices still hold.  And color-coded scrubs give an at-a-glance clue as to which group an individual belongs to, but that’s not enough for the healthcare compliance directors quoted in this great article, Pressure Mounts to Manage Medical Device Vendor Reps in Operating Room

This article on AIS’s Health Business Daily on March 5 2009 reports the issues these healthcare compliance directors face on the front line in managing medical device vendors in the hospital.  

Here are a few requirements cited by these leaders:

Keeping reps focused on an identified business purpose.  Assisting or selling, not milling around

Patient privacy.  Even if the patient gives consent to a vendor rep attending a procedure, hospitals may have additional privacy practices that the rep should follow.

Immunization status.  To limit susceptible patients’ exposure to communicable diseases.

Training and competency.  A difficult area still being defined.  What are the standards?  Who provides the measurement? 

Financial relationships.  The most prominent involves relationships between consulting surgeons and vendor companies, such as training vendor reps for pay — As one compliance officer stated in the article, “‘If they stopped buying products from the vendor, their teaching money would evaporate,’ he says.”

Imagine trying to convey an individual’s status on all these metrics through scrubs?  Black scrubs with yellow stripes signify current immunizations.  Red dots mean you’re fully trained.  It’s not really viable.  

It’s this complexity that is driving more and more healthcare systems to vendor badging integrated with their compliance programs.  Beyond the color of the scrubs, healthcare systems need unique single-use badges that reflect today’s status of vendor reps and their companies. 

Otherwise, you’re still left wondering – Is that a good guy in the black hat?

Entry filed under: Immunization Requirements, vendor compliance, vendor credentials, vendor management. Tags: , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. L. Ruffins  |  May 29, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    I am so furious with the whole vendor credentialing shit. I would like to charge the hospital $1000 everytime they purchase to make up for the money I spend and the time it takes to get this shit done. I wish there was one person I could take out my frustation on. I’m so angry… My fellow sales reps feel the same way, but also feel helpless to do anything about it. I really wish I could find the person who thought of this. That’s my personal opinion.


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