David Lumbert

There may be no better conversation starter in health care than asking “What does value mean to you?” The question of what constitutes value is probably the most hotly debated question in health care. The answer to that question influences everything from what kind of care is provided to how that care is ultimately reimbursed.

As a communications firm, clients often come to us with that very need: to help them communicate the value proposition of their products and services. While each client brings a different product or service to the table and they may have different audiences to reach, the goal is always to show how their offering is differentiated and adds value to the system and to the lives of the patients they serve. That patient-centric mindset drives them to design better products and services with the patient at the center of every decision and innovation. To achieve patient-centric outcomes, it is essential to be defining value in the way that patients perceive it.

The universal definition of value is benefits divided by cost – if a product provides more benefits than it costs, then it is valuable. To better understand how the industry defines value, we looked at how stakeholders are discussing it and using it to guide their decisions. In addition to the wide variation in definitions, we found that too often in health care, existing value frameworks fail to capture all the drivers that patients consider when thinking about benefits and costs.

Health Technology Assessments (HTAs) are another way of determining value in health care. With HTAs, organizations or governments look at the costs, outcomes and safety of a product or service, then determine how much value is added to the entire health care system. With that calculation, they can assign a starting price for negotiations.

More broadly, value-based care and associated payment models carry specific cost and quality metrics to measure how those across the continuum of care – from clinical laboratories to providers to device manufacturers – deliver value through the products and services they provide. The models attempt to quantify complex factors including patient satisfaction, timeliness and equitability to compare and rank those offering care.

While there are certainly a variety of quantitatively driven value-assessment models, we found few examples of quantitative approaches to understand and respond to the patient perspective across the continuum of care. As a result, companies struggle to communicate the value of their products and services in a differentiating and patient-centric way and patients are dissatisfied with a system that comes short of their expectations.

Reservoir decided to try and fill in some of the gaps. We started a journey to decode the actual attributes that patients consider when assigning value to a product or service in health care, ranging from clinical efficacy to emotional support. Through a series of in-depth conversations with thought leaders in the field and a quantitative survey of patients with varying levels of experience with the health care system, the Reservoir Patient Value Model was born.

Over the coming weeks, we look forward to sharing more about the Patient Value Model, and how it can benefit your organization.