Jeff Anderson is CEO of the Evidence & Access practice and Rosemary Jose leads Strategic Market Access activities. They talk about current dynamics in the healthcare industry and the challenges of generating evidence for optimal market access. These interviews were done to provide relevant and timely insights into a cross-functional approach to generating evidence through HEOR and integrated medical communications.
Across the industry, we are seeing large medical communications firms joining with HEOR, RWE, and market access consultancies. Pharmerit and OPEN Health came together in such a strategic merger. What industry trends are accelerating this strategy?
Rosemary: The commercial landscape for new pharmaceutical and biotechnology products is getting increasingly competitive. For that reason, attaining optimal market access has become more challenging for pharmaceutical/medical device companies. Amid the global economic crisis, with ever-increasing costs and diminishing healthcare budgets, payers have a growing influence on commercial success. Demonstrating a product’s clinical and economic evidence to providers, healthcare decision makers, and payers has become the central driver of successful product launches leading to improved access for the patient.
There is a pressing need to bridge the gaps between generating evidence, demonstrating value, and communicating evidence-based value propositions to relevant stakeholders.
Jeff: The acute focus on value has not abated. The absolute need to ensure assets represent value to a multitude of stakeholders, including patients and healthcare systems, is ever more real in a world of tighter healthcare budgets and the explosion of more targeted and specialized therapies. It is critical that the evidence supporting these assets reflects the evolving healthcare landscape as well as appeals to regulators and decision makers. This means effectively showcasing the asset’s real value to patients, healthcare systems and practitioners, and society at large.
With increasing volumes of structured and unstructured evidence to grapple with in HEOR, RWE, and market access, it is essential to draw on the skills and guidance of communication experts to ensure that value is conveyed in clear, digestible, and high-quality formats.
Mission comes from the top. What are the drivers for OPEN Health’s new mission, and how do they translate into what a customer experiences?
Jeff: The patient is at the heart of what we do; ultimately, our goal is to improve patient outcomes and well-being. Toward this end, we continually strive to become the world’s most respected healthcare partner, supporting our clients and collaborating with them every step of the way. We firmly believe that an asset’s journey through its lifecycle needs careful planning to realize and demonstrate its maximum value to patients and others. This should not be seen as a series of disconnected efforts. Rather, it is a seamless path from early insights, where we lay the foundation for strengthening an asset’s target product profile, through to evidence generation that meaningfully reflects the future patient journey and healthcare system, to clear and effective communication of the value it represents to its intended stakeholders, particularly to patients themselves.
OPEN Health uniquely blends high scientific research and innovation to identify and communicate the value of novel therapies, medical devices, or other medical interventions. Our broad expertise spans all phases of a product’s lifecycle as we work alongside our clients as strategic partners in HEOR, medical affairs, and commercialization services in a range of therapy areas. OPEN Health continues to pride itself on working as an extension of each industry partner’s team. That way, the trust between partners builds as the impact of our work is immediately apparent.
What benefits does a biosciences client experience when working with an organization that provides a comprehensive set of solutions across evidence development and communication?
Jeff: The biosciences industry consists of a plethora of internal and external stakeholders with different perspectives and needs. These stakeholders realize more benefit from a cross-functional approach to generating evidence through HEOR insights and medical communications for improved and faster access. On one side, there is a need to capture HEOR-generated insights that identify value strategies and generate scientific and real-world data to support them. On the other, the need exists to effectively communicate those value strategies via publication planning and management, medical education, and internal training.
Rosemary: Working seamlessly across our Centers of Excellence and strategic partners, the Strategic Market Access team at OPEN Health is well-positioned to design, coordinate, and execute evidence-generation strategies by deploying cross-functional teams to drive additional value for customers.
The Strategic Market Access Center of Excellence partners with our clients early in the product lifecycle as we conduct landscape assessments, perform payer research, and provide market access insights into clinical trials. During product development, we create the payer evidence-generation plan in alignment with cross-functional teams and support the payer evidence package with literature reviews (systematic or targeted), payer value proposition development and testing, global value dossiers, objection handlers, and cross-functional market access training and workshops.
We are also strategic partners in HTA strategy and submissions, advisory boards, and all other activities leading up to market access and reimbursement. Our activities are further enhanced by our digital teams, which provide state-of-the-art tools and expertise for value communication and cross-functional collaboration using digital interfaces. We work in a multidimensional fashion with our other Centers of Excellence to strategize and deliver on economic models, patient-centered studies, and real-world evidence and data analytics.
What are some examples of recent projects OPEN Health has worked on that demonstrate a truly innovative approach to evidence generation in support of market access?
Rosemary: We have some unique examples of deeply integrated projects in both chronic and rare diseases that have market access at the core and involve multiple Centers of Excellence working end to end along the product journey. Our approach includes engaging with patients, physicians, and payers and liaising with both global and local teams. The Strategic Market Access team lays the groundwork for success by generating insights and impact through compelling payer communications, while supporting better access through the co-creation of evidence for the right patients, in the right markets, at the right time.
What are some challenges that we as an industry need to work on collaboratively?
Rosemary: There is a need to think about market access and payer requirements earlier on, much before Phase 3 conceptualization. By means of landscape analyses, targeted literature reviews, and early modeling, we can better predict and prepare for market access challenges at launch.
External partnerships are useful to ensure that evidence-generation activities will resonate with customers and to encourage cross-stakeholder dialogue, via clinical advisory boards, payer advisory boards, patient research and journey mapping, mixed cross-functional advisory boards, and educational workshops.
Jeff: The value of early patient advocacy group (PAG) engagement is unmistakable. To ensure that patients are at the center of what we do in HEOR and strategic market access, we draw upon their lived experiences as patients in the service of developing cross-functional evidence-generation strategies, planning, and performing health technology assessments. Early PAG engagement helps in many ways. First, of course, it helps ensure that the patient voice is heard and that outcomes translate to meaningful impact for the patient. Additionally, in the US, ICER will engage with PAGs routinely because these groups might have an early signal that an ICER assessment is likely. So staying engaged with the community is very valuable.
What is on the horizon for OPEN Health?
Jeff: At OPEN Health, we work with many clients who continually tell us about the quality we deliver, the support we provide, the insights we share, and the impact we make. We thrive on this, but we consistently aim higher. Our goal is a lofty but achievable one: improving health outcomes and patient well-being by becoming the world’s most respected healthcare partner. We come together as expert practices to unite deep scientific knowledge, global understanding, and healthcare specialist expertise to apply innovative approaches to research and communications.
Our growth and constant innovation in methods and communication solutions allow us to lead the market. This will remain a core focus for us as we adapt to ever-changing market access challenges.