By Victoria Bates, Independent Life Science Consultant

There could not be a better time to challenge our approach to collaboration and re-invent/re-fresh the model of engagement between the Life Science sector and Health Systems.

Accelerated by the impact of the global pandemic – Health leaders around the world are facing the challenge of sustainable, affordable health and care. The complexity of tackling the aging population, with increased chronic diseases and co-morbidities, health systems already under pressure and the advancements in personalised and advanced medical products and vaccines mean we need to manage investment in health differently to build sustainable, effective health systems for the future.

Collaborating to deliver outcomes that matter to patients at the lowest possible cost, where value is realised for the patient, the health system and the life science sector ensures a sustainable ecosystem – where innovation continues to thrive. The process to achieve this requires a change in approach, ensuring the patient is actively involved in the decision making, and that this is supported by the best evidence, that low value practices are discarded, and unwarranted variation is reduced, freeing up resource to invest in high value interventions in support of better outcomes.

Despite the perceived tensions of public and private sector working as partners, both organisations have a shared ambition – to improve the lives of patients. Where leaders can create the space and opportunity to invite different thinking to problem solve; and so the potential to create sustainable solutions delivering shared value can be realised.

In 2019 in collaboration with School of Management academic colleagues and support from HTC Accelerate we undertook a study to explore the ‘conditions’ required to support successful collaborations and enable the adoption of Value Based Health Care1. As part of this work we interviewed 48 leaders from across health care and the life science sector to help identify future models of engagement, and consider the skills needed for engaging in collaborations enabling access and adoption of innovation in the future.

In our initial literature review we identified five guiding conditions necessary for the successful collaboration. These were: multi-disciplinarity; use of appropriate technological infrastructure; capturing meaningful metrics; understanding the total cycle-of-care; and having the ability to deliver financial flexibility. These five conditions, we suggest, provide a basic framework to enable successful collaborations in a complex health care landscape. However it is also clear that for success to be achieved will require careful strategic planning to support private and public sector alignment.  To this end, we are exploring additional factors, such as the ability of organisations to remain both strategic and agile in the face of the complexity that is implementing new collaborations in Value-Based Health Care.

We validated this framework with study participants and beyond the framework explored the characteristics required for effective collaboration. These we found could be gathered into 3 core themes:-

  • Right Tools
  • Right Processes
  • Right People
  • Tools generally reflected the fundamental need for technology that can capture and evaluate data – the more effective at gathering data from across the whole care pathway the more comprehensive the decisions and outcomes that can be assessed.
  • Processes consistently citied by participants included agile but robust governance to allow confidence in partnership and ability to hold each other to account and operate transparently. The ability to define and capture the outcome metrics, and the ability to recognise and reward the approach differently to the traditional model of medicines uptake.
  • Finally, right people identified the changes in engagement required, acknowledging that this was about culture as well as skill. Ensuring the leader embarking on a collaboration has the ability and autonomy to explore the partnership, is equipped to understand the health care landscape and is capable of engaging a wider network to bring together the right mind-sets to co-create solutions.

As part of our programme of Value-Based Health & Care Executive Education we further explore the approaches required for collaboration, to allow leaders to review the evidence, to debate with other leaders, to build a wider network and to apply learnings to further translate these findings into value.

  1. Collaborating to Deliver Value in Health Care: Exploring conditions required for successful Healthcare and Life Science Sector Collaboration. Daniel J Rees, Victoria Bates, Roderick Thomas, Simon B. Brooks, Leighton Phillips, Hamish Laing, Gareth Davies, Michael D. Williams and Yogesh K. Dwivedi.

Blog written by: Victoria Bates, Independent Life Science Consultant, and Executive Education
Date published: 06/11/2020