This article is the third in a series on the components that influence the value of novel healthcare solutions and how to address them.

The previous two articles in this series discussed the individual components that influence value and the first step in addressing them, mapping the care pathway. In this article, I cover the next step:

Exploring Relevant Perspectives

As I have previously discussed many times, it is impossible to talk about value in healthcare without answering the question “value to whom?” These days, as an industry we tend to either not specify a particular perspective or we assume that our audience automatically knows which perspective we are thinking about.

In the previous article in this series, we talked about the importance of mapping the care pathway:

With a clear map of the care pathway, you can very quickly identify all the relevant perspectives for a particular novel solution. In addition to the patient perspective, throughout the patient’s journey they will likely encounter multiple clinicians, staff, administrative personnel, etc. Initially we may want to focus on only one perspective, but the reality is that we must understand all the relevant perspectives when it comes to thinking about implementation and adoption.

For example: I recently spoke with a device company whose innovative device would save hospitals significant costs by improving the current care for patients in ICUs. In fact, they have had hospital administrators do their own analysis and determine that financially it would be a clear source of savings. However, these same administrators also said that they would NOT be buying this novel device because they just could not ask their front-line nurses to take on additional tasks at this time. In this case, the front-line nurses represent a perspective that is very relevant and one that would incur a “cost” (in the form of additional time, energy, resources, effort, etc.), but who do not experience a direct benefit from the device. From a value standpoint, this reflects some “misalignment” in costs and benefits, and would need to be rectified before it’s likely that hospitals would adopt the novel device. This is not uncommon, and is an excellent example of why one needs to explore all relevant perspectives.

In fact, some of the most common issues start-ups face can be traced back to not fully exploring the relevant perspectives.  In my experience, the most common value-related issues include:

  • There is a lack of demand among the current target audience (see the next paragraph)
  • There is misalignment of who incurs costs/receives benefits (see the previous paragraph)
  • Value has not been measured, monetized, or directly attributed to the novel solution (the next article in this series will address this issue)
  • There is an inability to demonstrate enough value because too small of an opportunity, the solution doesn’t “move the needle” enough, or it requires too much disruption or investment (next article)
  • There is too much uncertainty or risk (the final article in this series will address this)

Exploring all the relevant perspectives also allows one to determine where demand exists for a solution. As we all know, just because there is a problem or gap in care doesn’t mean that there’s demand to fix it. Sometimes people are fine with the current workaround or do not have the capacity to invest any additional time, money, or resources to address the issue. More specifically, this process can determine where demand exists, so you can target the most likely group or area or patient population for adoption.

Finally, this process illustrates who the key stakeholders and gatekeepers are, since certain perspectives will be key to adoption and implementation. In the above example, the front-line ICU nurses are key stakeholders who would need to experience significant benefits if one could reasonably expect them to be willing to incur the “cost” of the novel solution.

Once you have mapped the care pathway and explored relevant perspectives, you are ready for the next step: sizing the opportunity and potential value capture.