Digital health solutions have the potential to transform patient care by improving outcomes and lowering costs-often in partnership with payers and providers. While there’s been a surge in these solutions hitting the market, even the best of them can get lost in the health tech hype without the right preparation and strategy. How can entrepreneurs better navigate these systems? It all starts with evidence, but as we learned at a recent event with Evidation Health, there’s much more to proving value with payers and providers in a successful partnership. The second event in the Beyond the Health Tech Hype series brought together experts from Dignity Health, Humana, and Kaiser Permanente in a candid conversation led by Evidation’s President, Christine Lemke. Here are some of the major learnings from the evening (full video here):
Increasingly, payers and providers are noticing traditional metrics of evidence (e.g., randomized trials, evidence-based reviews) don’t necessarily translate into the real world. So what does? “Seeing a product used under some stress or duress and how it’s received by caregivers, members, patients, and their families,” answers Dr. Scott Young, Executive Director and Senior Medical Director of Kaiser Permanente’s Care Management Institute. They’re looking for evidence in a variety of settings and areas-not just in one homogeneous setting. “Numbers in different scenarios are more important to us than if you come to us and say, ‘Hey, I did a clinical trial with this many people in one setting,'” explains Dr. Manoja Lecamwasam, Executive Director of Intellectual Property and Strategic Innovation at Dignity Health. “We need to know that we can scale.” Panelists called out Augmedix, Propeller Health, and Omada Health as examples of companies doing it right when it comes to evidence in digital health.
You’ve finally completed the very basic fundamental, rigorous, quantitative studies for your solution-you’re ready to seal the deal now, right? Not so fast. Such evidence is only one part of the bigger picture. Karen Lee, Innovation and Strategic Partnerships Leader at Humana, points to the importance of “softer feedback”-stories and testimonials directly from customers and users. “In this day and age, so many solutions claim to do the same thing. This softer feedback allows us to really get a feel for that experience and whether or not it’s effective,” says Lee.
There are a lot of consumer companies with 50+ years of experience trying to launch into healthcare, and then there are new digital health startups. “We’re trying to assess you against your competitors, and if you’re not looking at evidence the same way or presenting in a clinically significant manner, that makes it tough for us. And ultimately, we’ll pass,” admits Lee. “Do your research and really understand your area. When you come to providers and payers and are able to speak on that level, I think that will get you very far.” To that point, holding your own in a sea of thousands of digital health solutions requires you to really, truly know your product. Being clear on what your product is and which population you want to appeal to and solve problems for is critical before even coming to a payer or provider. “What component of your product is going to affect outcomes?” asks Dr. Young. “If you can’t give an answer, that’s a problem. And if you can’t give an answer, there are a lot of people in line.”
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