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  • Ilsa Webeck

True Sources of Value



If you ask any medical product executive about their organizational strategy you will hear the same thing. “We provide value, offer solutions and deliver better care… all for the benefit of patients.” While I believe these companies truly want to do the best for the providers and patients they serve, the challenge of understanding where the REAL value lies is greater than one development team, one organization or one corporation.

At the MassMedic annual meeting earlier this year, we heard from a seasoned medical device executive on a panel next to a clinician/senior administrator at a local health system. The executive indicated that they have tried to propose solutions to create value for the health system, but the schemes have never been accepted. Why is that?

While in the press, in the hallways and likely in the board room, health systems (hospitals, clinics and payors) say they are looking for ways to reduce the cost of healthcare and to continue to provide a high level of care for patients. But on paper, are they really ready to do so? Shifting decades-old thinking about the treatment of patients doesn’t happen with one new technology or one new process flow. What is needed is to follow patients through their entire journey. Uncovering the real drivers of value through each step along that way only then developing a renewed way of looking at the problem from the big picture.

We often hear about insurance companies not wanting to perform diagnostic tests because of the up-front cost. Since the patient is only with the company for a short time they essentially take their savings with them to another insurance company. They don’t want to pay up front for a long term cost savings/value realization that might go to another company. But isn’t that patient being replaced by another patient coming from a different insurance company? A big patient shell game? You don’t know who is going to stay at your company or leave to go to another, wouldn’t you want all patients tested at all companies, so everyone can save money in the future?

The future of finding value in the medical products space comes from more than just a new technology with a targeted applicability in the clinic. It comes from a broad understanding of the patient and includes participation from every part of the system, from the start of the journey through to the end of the road. Only after identifying the pathways and needs, can the true sources of value be uncovered and only then can that value start to be realized through the health care system.

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