The Wound Care Learning Network had the opportunity to talk with Ryan Frank, the vice president of US marketing at Smith+Nephew, who is leading the product strategy for the company's Advanced Wound Management portfolio.
Before talking about your role as vice president of US marketing at Smith+Nephew, let’s go back to the beginning. Can you describe your journey in consumer and healthcare marketing?
I started my marketing career during my 12 years with Kimberly-Clark, helping expand the business in surgical gowns and drapes, exam gloves and masks, surgical incision sealants, and critical care respiratory supplies. Our portfolio focused on products that help improve infection control in the hospital, office, and extended care environments.
At Abbott Nutrition, I spent the next 11 years of my career leading both US and Global teams tasked with advancing how nutrition supports health outcomes, spanning early life (Similac infant formula), childhood development and acute recovery (PediaSure and Ensure oral supplements), [and] specific disease management (Glucerna blood glucose management, Nepro renal care, and Juven wound healing supplement).
What sets your experience with Smith+Nephew apart from the rest of your background?
From the moment I met with people here at Smith+Nephew, the leadership team and entire organization have shown a passionate dedication to reducing the human and economic consequence of wounds. It’s beyond selling products—our mission in every decision we make is to offer the strongest, most clinically validated solutions that improve the outcomes of our patients, whether that’s preventing wound injuries or accelerating healing when they occur.
Specifically within Smith+Nephew, it’s an exciting time to be joining the team, as we complete the integration of 2 new product solutions to our portfolio, the LEAF Patient Monitoring System for pressure injury prevention and OSIRIS Therapeutics’ GRAFIX cryopreserved placental membrane and STRAVIX Cryopreserved umbilical tissue. Both are truly transformational products that complement our total portfolio of wound management solutions!
How does marketing and product strategy for Smith+Nephew’s Advanced Wound Management portfolio compare to working for US kids’ health and nutrition brands?
Both nutrition and wound management are adjunctive areas of care, and both require products that clinicians hope to never need. Ideally, nutrition from food is sufficient to help kids stay [and] grow healthfully or adults recover from acute health issues, but sometimes they both need a boost to keep them on the right track. Similarly, wounds are a detour to healthy living or recovery, so our goal is to either invest in the preventive measure to avoid the issue, as in pressure injuries or surgical incision complications, or when more complex or chronic wounds arise, help accelerate the path to healing.
Building on my foundation in both clinician-focused and patient-focused solutions, Smith+Nephew helps bring both of these experiences together in the complex environment of wound management. With a wide range of clinicians and sites of care where wounds occur and are treated, my experiences bring an outsider’s view on solving these challenges in a time when wound treatment is becoming an even higher area of concern in the total continuum of patient care.
As an example, over 500,000 surgical incisions become infected every year in the US,1 and historically over 60% of wounds treated in home care are post-surgical.2 These complications often fall between the acute intervention and patient discharges but can significantly hamper a patient’s primary recovery, add cost burden to our health[care] systems, and sometimes result in truly critical issues! We believe proactive treatment in high-risk patients with products like PICO Single Use Negative Pressure Wound Therapy System and ALLEVYN Wound Dressings at discharge can truly reduce this burden on providers, patients, and their families.
You have worked with digital media, among other strategies, to improve sales in the US nutritional business. Do you believe a digital focus is necessary in the healthcare market?
Absolutely! It’s becoming increasingly difficult for healthcare clinicians to see industry and learn about new technologies through face-to-face channels alone. As a result, recent research revealed that two-thirds of physicians rate digital media as a channel they rely on in their job today.3
Clinicians want what we all want—access to reliable information when and where they need it. None of our lives afford us the time to stop to learn about new products and solutions in the heat of our daily demands, so digital marketing is an ideal tool that gives clinicians control to access information when they need it, where they can focus, and at the level of detail that matches their learning objectives.
As digital interaction has increasingly become an extension of everyday life, healthcare’s data management and analytics tools are also quickly evolving to integrate our in-office interactions, traditional media messages, educational content, and digital engagements into a seamless customer-centric journey.
You have a passion for cycling and put it to good use, raising more than $10,000 benefitting the OSU James Cancer Research Center through the annual Pelotonia 100-mile cycling event. Is there a connection to your participation in the fundraiser and your work with wound care products that benefit cancer patients, especially devices such as PICO for bilateral prophylactic mastectomies?
Yes. I’ve been fortunate to be able to invest my personal time and passion with 2 great institutions to help support cancer research and treatment—The Ohio State University James Cancer Research Center, as well as the Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure. Both support an important frontier for early research to reduce risk, treat, and heal in the cancer field, and my experiences with both organizations have been amazing.
With both PICO 7Y Negative Pressure Wound Therapy System for use in bilateral breast surgical incision management, as well as an array of products that support chronic and acute wounds that can occur when patients’ systems are dramatically compromised by their primary treatment, Smith+Nephew has invested to launch a range of product solutions that support the field of oncology and cancer treatment…and I’m very excited to continue my personal support in this arena!
Turning attention back to the entire range of Advanced Wound Management products, are there any new launches or products we can expect?
For Smith+Nephew, you’ll continue to see an even stronger focus on offering our clinical partner integrated evidence and product solutions that solve complex, higher-order problems like surgical incision complications, pressure injury prevention, and complex wound healing. We have innovations coming across these platforms that will be exciting for our teams to share throughout the year!
And with a product portfolio that spans across the full continuum of wound management, we believe Smith+Nephew delivers the broadest set of integrated solutions for our customers to truly solve their most challenging wound cases today:
- Tissue Debridement (Collagenase SANTYL Ointment 250 units/gram, VERSAJET II Hydrosurgery System)
- Infection Management (ACTICOAT Antimicrobial Barrier Dressing, IODOSORB 0.9% Cadexomer Iodine Gel, ALLEVYN Ag Antimicrobial Foam Dressing)
- Moisture and Exudate Control (ALLEVYN LIFE Wound Dressings, SOLOSITE Conformable Wound Gel Dressing)
- Restoring Epidermal Margin (GRAFIX, STRAVIX, and OASIS Wound Matrix, REGRANEX Gel)
- Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (RENASYS NPWT System, PICO Single Use NPWT)
- Pressure Injury Prevention (LEAF Patient Monitoring System)
- Najjar PA, Smink DS. Prophylactic antibiotics and prevention of surgical site infections. Surg Clin North Am. 2015;95(2):269–283. doi:10.1016/j.suc.2014.11.006
- Pieper B, Templin TN, Dobal M, Jacox A. Wound prevalence, types, and treatments in home care. Adv Wound Care. 1999;12(3):117–126.
- ZS Affinity Monitor Study, 2019 MSME1-22804-0120