Keith Koby | Sr. Vice President, Customer Loyalty & Success – North America
As North America’s Employee #2, and now the Sr. Vice President of Customer Loyalty & Success, “no two days are the same” for Keith Koby. “After being in the medical device industry since 1990, I have physically been to almost every hospital in America!” Keith is now responsible for managing customer growth and retention, with the Nanosonics infection prevention ecosystem of products and consumables. The opportunity to grow, learn and get better every day has been a central theme to his tenure with Nanosonics, and was his primary reason for joining the team.
Joining the Team
“In April 2012, I had dinner with the Nanosonics CEO, and the North America President at the request of a former GE colleague. I immediately saw the potential of bringing a very important product to market, and knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime innovation.” The onboarding process for the young company required Keith to quickly hit the ground running. “With limited resources and tools at our disposal, John Corbett and I had a will to succeed and make a difference, by establishing the trophon® device’s presence in North America. John was taking calls 24/7 for the first three years! My first day was training. My second day was customer demos.”
Bringing the Product to Market: Education, Personalized Customer Service
While Keith saw the unique advantage that the trophon device provided for ultrasound infection prevention, it took time to make in-roads in the market. “The biggest hurdle when introducing this innovative technology, was educating customers to think about probe reprocessing in a different way. Using a high level disinfection (HLD) device at the point of care had never been done before trophon technology. Nobody knew who Nanosonics was in North America, so we had to work hard to earn the trust of our customers. One by one, I met with infection control nurses, healthcare partners, and TJC surveyors in a process I called the ‘walk-around’ and what we now term ‘Clinical Site Assessment.’ The Clinical Site Assessment provides a gap analysis of ultrasound infection control processes. Through this service, we were able to educate, build trust, and become partners in infection prevention.
Scaling the Market Impact
The next major challenge Keith faced, was scaling what he was doing for a greater reach within the market. “I gained approval to hire the first five region managers, called the ‘Nan 5’ (three of which are still with Nanosonics). The team supplemented the existing GE reseller channel, and were able to ramp up the install base and serve more facilities. We now have 21 territories, supported by Account Managers, Inside Sales Representatives, Clinical Application Specialists, and Customer Service.”
Ultrasound Infection Prevention Ecosystem
While the use of trophon devices is a crucial step for patient safety, Nanosonics has also developed an ecosystem of products for broader ultrasound infection prevention. Oftentimes, invention and innovation occurs based upon the needs observed in the field. “One achievement I am very proud of is coming up with the idea for our Clean Ultrasound Probe Covers. I was visiting a customer in the southern part of the U.S. They had a great workflow using trophon devices for HLD, but then covered their reprocessed probes with brown paper lunch bags. I thought ‘we can do better!’ On my flight home, I pulled the emesis bag from the airplane seat pocket and thought about the way it sealed and how we could make that work for probes. I passed this idea on to our Sydney team, and after many prototype tests of various sizes of covers and sealing mechanisms, we came up with the cover design that we sell today.”
Global Impacts of trophon Technology: Patients Protected & Environment
“This mission is personal for me. I have three daughters – I think about how this product can protect their health and have global impacts for infection prevention. I also believe one of the most important values from the trophon device is the positive environmental impact it has by potentially eliminating the disposal of thousands of gallons of water and soaking chemicals.”
Reflecting on 25,000 units installed in North America
When Keith started with the company, there were 68 trophon units installed in North America. “I knew we could get close to 10,000 or so trophon devices installed in North America. But now, looking at more than 25,000 units installed, and patients protected in more than 100 million procedures since 2011 – I am very pleased at how the adoption curve has continued to grow year after year as this means more and more patients are protected! I am also so motivated by our positive company culture and leadership! We really have an amazing group of talented people making up our North American team, and I very much look forward to the future of Nanosonics, and the positive impact we will have on patients around the world.”
The trophon® family includes trophon® EPR and trophon®2, which share the same core technology of ‘sonically activated’ hydrogen peroxide.