Most of the organizations I work with have never invested in a value assessment before, so they’re a little unsure of what is involved or what type of deliverable to expect. That can make it difficult to determine whether this type of engagement would be useful to them or what they should expect to budget for it.

In 90% of cases, the deliverable ends up being a version of one of the three types of assessments described below: a value brief, a white paper, or a full economic analysis.

It should be noted that in all cases, these assessments are based on data and/or published research studies; the differences lie in the breadth of the information included and how that information is applied and communicated to the intended audience. Additionally, in most cases, these deliverables are intended to help determine the size of the opportunity to capture value, demonstrate the impact on that opportunity afforded by the solution being highlighted, or both. More conceptual details of what this means can be found in this article.


A Value Brief

A value brief is typically a 2-3 page document that includes a high-level summary with key statistics, some brief narrative and usually one or two tables or graphs to highlight key points. The value brief is intended to be “outward facing” – meaning that it is intended for payers, providers, patients, investors or some other stakeholder. An outsider would immediately recognize it as marketing material. They almost always undergo design and style reviews by the contracting organization’s marketing or communications department. The message and format will be largely driven by the intended audience. The objective is to quickly relay to the reader the value of the proposed solution on a macro level and in a way that is easily understood.


A White Paper

The term “white paper” is wonderfully ambiguous. It may reflect a rigorous academic research paper, but it is also used to refer to more informal communications of a topic or idea. For a value assessment, it typically represents a more thorough examination and summary of the available literature on the clinical topic, gaps in care and available solutions. It will be a longer narrative and incorporate tables and graphs in a way that is often seen in academic (i.e., peer-reviewed) papers. A white paper is appropriate in situations where an organization wants to provide their audience with a more in-depth description of the potential opportunity and the impact of their solution, supported by an extensive summary of the clinical and/or economic evidence. The end result may be posted on a firm’s website or sent to specific individuals for whom the increased academic rigor would appeal, usually including clinicians, payers, investors, funding agencies or acquiring organizations.


A Full Economic Analysis

As the most extensive and in-depth of the three types of value assessments, a full economic analysis typically incorporates much of what is provided in a white paper, although it will mostly likely include an even more exhaustive examination of the relevant literature in an attempt to identify relevant numerical values that may be useful in calculations of metrics related to cost-effectiveness or return on investment.

A full economic analysis may include values related to incidence or prevalence, rates of events, costs of care, potential reductions in adverse events or utilization associated with a particular solution. With these values, one then proceeds to calculate the estimated or realized economic impact of the device, product or service as a way to demonstrate the business case. This process can be lengthy and should involve examinations of variability through sensitivity analyses or some other methods. This type of deliverable is often used to support talks regarding potential contracts with payers/providers or those involving investors or acquiring organizations.

The choice of the type of value assessment that is right for you will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • Intended audience
  • Desired result/impact
  • Timing
  • Budget

Every situation is different. The correct choice will also depend on other factors unique to your situation and solution. Luckily, these are general categories and the negotiated deliverable(s) can be tailored to meet your specific needs. As you consider the value you wish to communicate about your solution and the audience whose attention you’d like to attract, understanding these common types of assessments can help you think in more detail about what you need.