Industry, Too, is Transforming
Thursday, September 6, 2018 | Jacob Turmell
Today, one of the biggest buzz phrases we hear is “healthcare transformation.” All organizations, practices, payors, and even patients, are considering what this means and are expending energy and effort to change the way care is delivered. There are many drivers of this change including the high cost of care, the lack of healthcare coverage for many individuals, a fragmented system, and arguably some of the lowest quality measures in the world. Much of this change is aimed at becoming more successful in achieving the Quadruple Aim, which is seeking to improve the quality of care for patients, decrease the cost of care for the entire system, increase patient satisfaction, and increase provider satisfaction to prevent burnout. At this time we are also seeing the medical device and pharmaceutical industries emerging to partner to accomplish this transformation. They too are focusing on how to better meet the needs of their customers to improve outcomes for patients while lowering costs.
A leader in this area is Philips Healthcare. Over the past few years, Philips has divested many of its tech companies to go “all in” in healthcare. Philips is forming new relationships with its customers to focus not on a specific product, but on how their overall solution can help organizations to be successful in this new environment. I recently had the opportunity to discuss the new focus of Philips with one of their leaders in Image Guided Therapies (IGT), Brian Fennel. Brian is the Senior Manager for Value Based Healthcare in the IGT division at Philips.
JT: How do you see the relationship between industry and healthcare organizations changing?
BF: At Philips, we are no longer dealing solely with the end user, such as biomed or supply chain. We are looking for departmental heads or leadership who are responsible for performance. We want to talk to those who are responsible for financial, operational, and clinical outcomes. We are elevating the conversation from product features, bells, and whistles to be more about organizational outcomes and process improvement.
JT: What are some of the novel approaches that Philips is using to change that relationship?
BF: Device companies rely on studies to show the clinical evidence that supports the use of their products. We are now saying that we will support achieving those outcomes in day-to-day practice. We may do this through performance improvement or economic safeguards, such as a risk sharing model. We must be prepared to show the clinical, financial, and operational benefits of our products and stand behind that. Additionally, we are beginning to think about the patient across the continuum of care. No longer are we just looking at our device in a procedure as an isolated event. We are thinking about the overall impact of that procedure to the patient and to their quality of life. We are focusing on how our products will impact the patient “outside of the walls of the hospital.” It is becoming very important to focus more attention on the aftercare of the patient.
JT: How is this solution selling different from traditional sales?
BF: In traditional sales, we would approach the physician, biomed or supply chain person and tell them about all the great new upgrades, features, bells and whistles. We often didn’t talk about the value that the product would bring to that organization. With solution selling, we talk to the executives about problems they are facing in their organization and how we can create a solution for them with our products. We lead with the value rather than product. We come in more informed about their business needs and how we can impact their organization. We discuss how we have seen our solution impact other organizations with similar needs, and discuss how that fits into their environment.
JT: How does this all impact the hospital and the patient?
BF: For the hospital, we are educating them to buy smarter. There are limited capital dollars and we want to make sure that organizations realize the value of their investments. Since Value Based Purchasing began, hospitals have a great focus on the overall value of their spend and how that impacts the patient beyond just the hospital. For patients, we want to make sure that we are delivering outcomes that are meaningful and sustainable. We don’t want a patient to have a procedure and then have to come back in a few weeks to have a repeat procedure due to a complication. We want to do it right the first time and for the patient to get back to enjoying a high quality of life. We want the patient to have an accurate diagnosis, safe procedure, and better care after discharge.
Industry is taking on a solution focus to change the dynamics of the relationship with their customers to have a greater impact on patient outcomes. This shift is having a large impact on the transformation of healthcare. We at MedAxiom are proud that our partners, including Philips, espouse this approach not just in words, but in how they are willing to contract with customers to help them achieve success that is meaningful to them.
It is time to transition our thinking about medical device companies as “vendors” and truly see them as “partners” with innovative solutions to improve quality outcomes at a low cost. I think over the next couple of years, we will continue to see an increase in industry partners offering solutions rather than just products, and in their willingness to contract around meaningful outcomes. I firmly believe that this new focus from industry will have a positive impact on the patients we serve, as well as the organizations and providers that bear the responsibility of treating those patients.
I encourage you to interact with all MedAxiom partners and inquire about their solution strategies and ways they are helping practices to be successful in a value-based environment. The upcoming CV Transforum Fall’18 conference is the perfect time to do that. Hope to see you there.
As a final note, I’d like to thank Brian Fennel for his time, candor and insights. If you have further questions for Brian, please be sure to speak to him at the conference next month.
Illustration: Lee Sauer
About the Author
Jacob Turmell, DNP, RN, NP-C, ACNS-BC, CCRN-CMC, Vice President, MedAxiom Consulting, is a certified Nurse Practitioner with a strong clinical background combined with years of medical industry experience. While earning his Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, Jacob?s focus on systems leadership gave him expertise in organizational assessment, outcome-driven change management, population health, and public policy. At MedAxiom Consulting, Jacob is focused on care processes redesign and provider team optimization.
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