If a startup has run a great pilot for its health innovation, what happens next? How does that become a sale? These four US-based speakers share their insights.
Gautam Gulati, MD, MBA, MPH
Mahek Shah, MD, Project Director & Senior Researcher, Harvard Business School
Aaron Feierstein, Sr. Corporate Development Advisor, Healthworx, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield
Zain Ismail, Principal Transformation Consultant, Strategic Support Services, Henry Ford Health System
Transcript with timestamps (click here)
Gautam Gulati, MD, MBA, MPH [00:10]
A question I get a lot from innovators is, “how do we essentially take our product and run pilots around it? And then once we run the pilots, how do we conduct a sale? And then scale that sale across other organizations as well?”
And this is, this is a very tricky question. At least what I’ve seen consistently over and over again, is that they focus, they tend to focus on the wrong metric. And the metric that a lot of innovators are focusing on is ROI—return on the investment. Essentially, if I’m going to spend X amount, ultimately, how much am I going to get in return as a result of that spend? But I think they’re in healthcare specifically, there’s a different metric that’s even more important. And that’s what I call ROO—return on outcomes. Because at the end of the day, ultimately, we’re treating some sort of quality or clinical outcome as a result of some of our solutions. So not saying that ROI is not important. But if you don’t do it in the context of return on outcomes and focus on those important measures, ultimately, the pilot won’t have any success.
An interesting way that I think a lot of organizations don’t necessarily conduct their, sort of, pilot tests in organizations, they don’t look at it as a typical clinical trial. And I think what we need to do is essentially take these digital technologies, if they are digital—whatever product decision is—and when we look at the return on outcomes of the product or solution, we need to look at it in the context as if we’re conducting a clinical trial. We do an early study. And we develop the metrics that we’re essentially going to measure and then we prove certain outcomes as a result of that study.
Now, once you have that, that essentially becomes your sale tool. And that becomes your ticket in hand to basically convince other organizations of why your product or service is actually valuable to that organization. Not only do you have the ROI measure in place, but now you’ve got your return, your ROO or return on outcome measure in place, that you can then take as a result of your pilot clinical trial and then scale that across other organizations.
Mahek Shah, MD, Project Director & Senior Researcher, Harvard Business School [01:58]
I think that clearly and confidently communicating your solution and your success in a pilot is important. Not just to your customer, but also to your user and to potential investors or existing investors if you have them. Because one pilot is great, two pilots is better. But we don’t know. To be truly successful, you need many pilots and many stakeholders interested in what you’re doing. And by being able to articulate that in a clear, concise, meaningful way, is critical to your success. And that solution should be meaningful, should be actionable and it should be manageable in the current healthcare delivery system—but also the future healthcare delivery system.
Aaron Feierstein, Sr. Corporate Development Advisor, Healthworx, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield [02:45]
We think about an innovator running a successful pilot that ends up leading to a sale when we’re taking into account whether to work with that innovator in the first place.
So typically, when we’re looking at a solution, it fits within a focus area or business need. And then typically we’ll, as part of the investment or as part of the strategic relationship, we will work with the innovator to create a pilot and or clinical utility study. And then from there, that will lead to the vendor relationship.
Zain Ismail, Principal Transformation Consultant, Strategic Support Services, Henry Ford Health System [03:23]
The journey at Henry Ford, I will warn you, is a little bit long. And so you should probably commit to at least a year in working with us. Taking your project from pilot to scale to a sale of some sort through our Innovation Institute. They largely are the ones that work with very early-stage companies. We help them to build a body of evidence. From there it goes on to our supply chain team to really see now does this company have the wherewithal, if you will, to actually become one of our official vendors?
And then from there, it actually goes to our IT project management office. But then works directly with that company to start scaling across our five hospitals, and our health plan if there’s a need there as well.