Drawn from the experiences of the BaseCase Consulting Team, this is the introduction to ‘Succeeding in Value Communication’. This series of blog articles examines the key success factors in creating customer engagement tools that effectively communicate the clinical value and economic benefits of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and diagnostic tests.
How do you communicate the value of new therapies and medical technology?
Economic arguments continue to play a definitive role in market adoption of new medical innovations due to the increasing pressures placed on healthcare budgets. Manufacturers often use spreadsheets to demonstrate such arguments and communicate the value of a product to a range of stakeholders. Spreadsheets will combine different data sources and assumptions to quantify what benefits a product will bring for a particular stakeholder and their individual health economy. Often the result is a mix of clinical outcomes translated into economic outcomes, based on ‘inputs’ that the customer provides.
However, adoption and uptake of these sheets is often very poor. This is due to numerous factors, but ultimately comes down to key account managers (KAMs) and field teams not being fully comfortable presenting a complex spreadsheet they don’t fully understand.
The result is not too surprising as many health economic models are developed for HTA bodies for national reimbursement, only later are they ‘repurposed’ for regional use. National bodies have the expertise and relevant know-how to deal with such complex methods as they work with them every day. KAMs and regional payers are often left wondering how this national scenario will benefit their territory.
Adding to this is that models are typically developed by scientists that have no relation to commercial activities. Some scientists may even frown upon their work being used in a commercial context. Most scientists though simply aren’t aware of how to effectively communicate complex scenarios and some others aren’t interested in it. The fact is that ‘scientific communication’ is a highly sought after skill in today’s life science landscape and crucial to the success of the business.
Our BaseCase Consulting Team has received many supposedly ‘user-friendly’ spreadsheets that have been rejected by the commercial team at large life science companies for being ‘too complex’. The need for such spreadsheets is necessary, but having materials that aren’t user-friendly leads to them being ignored and overlooked despite the major impact they can have.
Our consultants are asked many times what the solution is. But it is, in fact, very easy to align commercial and scientific teams. By producing an easy-to-use and intuitive presentation tool that visualizes ‘value for money’ many of our clients have seen KAMs and field teams quickly adopt new materials.
Creating such a deliverable is a challenge though. It depends on not only having the required knowledge, but also the right skills and, crucially, the best software. Presenting quantitative information is an art as well as a science and it requires a multidisciplinary mindset. In this series of articles, we outline some key success factors in value communication design based on our experience of implementing hundreds of value communication tools for companies across the life sciences industry.