The Bridge

How suppliers can support providers' product evidence development

by Jessica Liu and Matt Pesesky

Providers aren't just evaluating procedures and processes, they're measuring your products as well. To improve patient care, they are trying to use data to determine which products work best for their caregivers in their system. Manufacturers can benefit from coordinating with providers to develop this data—and we'll show you four ways to do so below.

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What are provider sources of data?

While there are a number of ways providers can assess how products affect outcomes, most are barely scratching the surface – particularly when it comes to measuring how products impact procedural outcomes. At present, hospitals use a few major data sources to develop real world evidence on product and procedural effectiveness:

  • Registries
  • EMR data pulls
  • In-house product trials

Registry data is prized, but unfortunately does not tell hospitals too much about results at their own facility. EMR evidence is valued, but not always accessible or trusted due to unreliable data capture processes at many hospitals. Running product trials requires considerable effort and expertise to control for other variables. Each of these approaches has limits that providers will need to overcome.

How will hospital behavior change over the next few years?

We anticipate that hospitals will accelerate their usage of all three of these sources of information. A large amount of real world evidence for product decisions comes from in-house product trials, usually conducted alongside a sourcing event. There are potential opportunities for provider-supplier coordination, though providers do not always inform vendors when they’re evaluating their products via in-house trial. Vendors who build trust with suppliers and help support their trial initiatives may be better positioned to improve client relationships and get case study evidence to supplement their own broader trial results.

The biggest gap to hospitals analyzing real world performance (along with limited staff) is the poor tracking of product usage within the health system. A movement to barcode products and to get providers to track which products are used in procedures is essential to product-specific real world evidence. Without these two elements in place, it will be difficult for hospitals to evaluate product effectiveness at their hospital without outside help.

Given the demand, many providers will likely turn to other sources to meet this need. Product manufacturers, in both the pharmaceutical and medical technology spaces, can support hospitals that want to learn more about a given product. In addition, companies specializing in EMR analysis may also provide hospitals with facility-specific clinical evidence alongside nationwide benchmarks. Payer-founded initiatives, such as United’s Shared Clarity, will also try to crack the nut.

But you'll always know your products better than generalist companies will. How do you stay a part of the conversation?

How can suppliers help?

  1. Find the right time horizon: Invest in developing performance metrics of the product on various time horizons that providers care about: in procedure, 30-day outcomes, 90-day outcomes, 1-year outcomes, and others.
  2. Package it: Assemble this information into a packet you can provide to supply chain and value analysis stakeholders before a meeting, especially if those meetings are only for the provider's staff.
  3. Be a guinea pig: Help willing hospitals actively engage in trialing your products, track the results, and get permission to share them with others.
  4. Build in ways to adjust: Use vendor scorecards and frequent communication to adjust the support and information you give to a hospital to support your products.
 

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