May 2, 2017 | Blog

Understanding and Delivering Value to Your IDN Customers

Top Takeaways From The Spring 2017 IDN Summit

What can suppliers do to better serve their IDN customers in a dynamic and competitive environment? Here are some of the key takeaways from CMR Institute’s session at the 2017 Spring IDN Summit, which was held in April in Orlando.

Industry trends, such as provider consolidation and physician employment, are changing the locus of decision making. “No one person is making the decision anymore,” said L. David Harlow, III, PharmD, assistant vice president for professional services, clinical pharmacy, clinical laboratory, and disease management at Martin Health System. That is why it is critical for healthcare sales professionals to build complete profiles of the IDNs in their territory and understand the influencers and decision makers in each organization.

To deliver better value to IDNs, Harlow advised suppliers not to start with a sales pitch. “It’s simple, but suppliers don’t always follow this advice: Understand what we’re trying to accomplish first,” he said.

Suppliers also need to be familiar with the level of maturity of value-based payment models in their territory. “It’s important to think about how you can position your products and services for this new market,” said Michelle O’Connor, who moderated the discussion. “Adopting a consultative approach and understanding how your product may advance the Triple Aim can help you become a high value supplier.”

IDNs want your help understanding how your product differs from the competition. One of the biggest challenges for IDNs is the rising cost of implants in the face of shrinking reimbursement, said George Hersch, vice president of materiel management at Norton Healthcare, which has 600 employed providers. “As we recruit physicians, we talk to them about what their needs are and if they can adapt to the formulary we have, and if not, why,” Hersch said.

In value analysis, the difficulty is often not with conducting the clinical and financial analysis itself but rather getting providers to change their behavior and make the change “stick,” he said. As a result, organizations may fail to achieve the results they projected to see after a product switch. At Norton Healthcare, senior leaders require supply chain leaders to demonstrate better clinical outcomes with their changes. He asked suppliers to help supply chain leaders better understand the clinical and safety advantages of products, such as reduced infection rates, before potential changes. “If you can demonstrate that, it goes a long way toward motivating us toward product acceptance and talking to the rest of the physician community about that,” he said. How a product affects the patient experience also is a consideration.

Norton Healthcare’s research institute often partners with suppliers to evaluate products for the formulary. Two key considerations are if the product has been FDA approved and if it is likely to be reimbursed by payers. Decision makers also want to know which physicians will champion the product.

Norton Healthcare uses a panel of physicians and service line vice presidents to gauge how acceptable a new device might be. The organization also recently added advance practice nurses to its three supply-chain teams—surgical services, infant/child, and patient care services—to help evaluate products. “They round with patients, see how products are used, and are even closer to the action than a lot of other clinicians on our three supply-chain teams,” he said.

Back orders frustrate your clinical and supply chain customers. It can be maddening for clinical partners when the supply chain pipeline is not sufficiently filled, said Steve Patton, interim assistant vice president of supply operations at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, a Vizient, Inc. contractor. “If we are going to commit to all of this work on the front end, there’s got to be logistical support on the back end,” he said. Suppliers can help reduce the frustration by being transparent about these issues and working to address them as quickly as possible. In his role, Patton works with the value analysis team to come up with acceptable substitutions to products.


See a full description of our workshop here.

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