Don't Overlook This Major Difference Between Intuitive Surgical and TransEnterix

Posted on November 01, 2017 by Medtech[y] Staff

Where can you look to find a major difference between TransEnterix and Intuitive Surgical?

Head over to the open payments website.


As some people say, the devil is in the details.

Yes, you could look at the balance sheet of a company to get this information, but for a lot of us, a balance sheet reads like sheet music. 

The open payments data extrapolates how much each medical device and pharmaceutical company spend each year on consulting, physician payments, etc and is a great resource when doing due diligence on a potential investment.

The information below is from 2016, so now that Senhance has FDA clearance, those consulting numbers should go up but they will be nowhere near what Intuitive Surgical spends each year.

In case you missed it, we discussed the in-depth differences between the two companies here

Intuitive Surgical Open Payment Data 2016

Isrg Open Payment
Isrg Open Payment2
Isrg Open Payment1
Trxc Open Payment

Yep, general payments of $34,699,280.89 versus $235,688.65. 

The most consistently overlooked or talked about stat when discussing the differences between these two companies are how much each spends educating nurses and hospitals.

If you breakdown the numbers further, look at the amount Intuitive Surgical spends on education: $14,503,163.78.

That is a lot of money invested in their customers.

Intuitive Surgical has done a lot of things well but one thing they've done extremely well is making it hard for surgeons and hospitals to leave their ecosystem. Intuitive Surgical has known they would have competition at some point and investing the money they have in training and education has been brilliant. 

What's one way to prevent customers from leaving when competition inevitably enters the market?

Having an enormous sales, training and service organization to keep the systems running 24/7. The training is not just surgeons, it is nurses and other hospital staff. 

Make no mistake, TransEnterix has hired former Intuitive Surgical sales leaders and they are doing what they can to mirror Intuitive Surgical's sales, marketing and education model, but the overall depth and scope of what Intuitive Surgical has built will take time to overcome in a meaningful way.