Over the last several months, and the last two weeks in particular, the novel coronavirus has begun to wreak havoc on global institutions, forced people into periods of prolonged isolation, and has even made the last months of 2019 feel like the halcyon days of peak capitalism.
Now, that has all changed, and in order to thrive in a COVID-19 ridden world, and the one inevitably left in its wake- we all must adapt and understand the pressures we all feel as global citizens. We also must act with dignity, compassion, and empathy for those we serve as business leaders in our respective fields.
As you all know, Virgo is a healthcare technology company. Our target audience has always been, and likely always will be physicians and their teams- people that go to work every day to take care of our sick and dying.
Virgo has historically focused on creating tools that move the dial for gastroenterologists. We know colorectal cancer is a leading cause of death here in the United States- and we also know it is largely preventable with effective screening. We know inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis massively burden its sufferers- and we also know the current pathways for getting life-saving drugs to market in this space are labyrinthine, outdated, and just plain ineffective.
So, we set out to bring a suite of products to the GI community that positively impact colorectal cancer rates while bettering physician performance and workflow, as well as a toolset that enables clinical trialists to rapidly identify patients for inclusion into trials that sorely lack a viable patient population today.
And, although these products were developed with the gastroenterologist in mind, we have always believed that our products can greatly improve care and physician experience across all medical specialties that leverage imaging- whether that be ultrasound, laparoscopes, arthroscopes, endoscopes, or fluoroscopy.
Given the severity of the burden COVID-19 will continue placing on our healthcare system- which is already strained under the pressures of having too few beds, too few caregivers, and a radical shortage of needed PPE and ventilators- we have made the obvious decision to halt outbound sales efforts to our healthcare provider partners nationwide. Although we and our customers understand the value Virgo provides to their clinical practice, it goes without saying that now is simply not the time to sell products to people that are busy ensuring our nation does not crumple under the weight of this public health crisis. It is also no time to look at this crisis as a commercial opportunity- and for this reason, sales is taking a backseat, while doing anything we can to help is taking the wheel in the driver’s seat.
We are here to support our customers, and we are also here to support any caregiver that is interested in using our products. In light of the fact that Virgo is a wonderful supplement to all video-based imaging tools, we are prepared to assist any hospital with our product if they deem it could be impactful in treating COVID-19.
Earlier in the week of March 15 and later published by The Lancet on March 20th, reports were shared suggesting point-of-care ultrasound is a best-practice for both diagnosing as well as triaging patients exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. Meanwhile, the CDC does not recommend using bronchoscopy on COVID-19 sufferers until they are through the rubicon and recovering. Both of these imaging modalities can benefit from sharing and recording- imagine having the ability to instantly and securely share ultrasound video with a local or global expert, and receive feedback momentarily regarding what to do with your patient. Aspirationally, imagine having a video record of every bronchoscopy performed on COVID-19 survivors, and the wonderful scientific work diagnosticians and data scientists could do when armed with that data.
On March 16, we rolled out an action plan to serve our community healthcare professionals in the best way that we can- by providing free access to our platform, with free support and end user licenses- to any critical care, bronchoscopy, or respiratory team in the world that thinks this may help in their response to COVID-19.
Overall, the response from the medical community has been outstanding. Nearly all of our academic partners have responded enthusiastically. We are here to support, serve, and deliver to our customers tools they need to perform at their best- and it’s inspiring to have the support of many of the nation’s top healthcare systems and their leaders. Although we can’t perform life-saving work on our own, we, too, are doing the best we can.
From the bottom of our hearts, we salute all of those on the front lines, and to everyone in the world that is doing their part to flatten the curve. This is a team effort, and we are proud to be doing our part.
If you or your colleagues in bronchoscopy are interested iin our COVID-19 recovery assistance program, please reach out to Ian at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Stay home (if you can), and give someone you know a video call tonight.
-The Virgo Team