Friday, April 10, 2015

Population Health Analytics Showdown: Winner Take All?

In honor of #HIMSS15 starting the week of April 12 and the “look at me” craziness of the week from all of the vendors, some more successful than others, led to the question above.

I submit for your consideration, (my apologies to Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling, for the use of his opening monologue statement in setting up the episodes), that there is a whole lot of marketing confusion  in the provider market by vendors in the population health, data and analytics space.

Now that being said, I am not taking shots at anyone or stating one solution is better than the other. (Though I would love to because some are just re-sellers of another companies solution. A few are powered by a third party vendor who does all the solution and development work. Others are unable to turn a profit. Then there are those vendors who are in a constant state of turmoil with reorganizations and reductions in force annually. With still more being sold every 4 or 5 years and launching a new brand.) But be that as it may, each vendor has strengths and weaknesses. What I am looking at is a global marketing view of the space and what vendors are saying.

Are they really differentiating?

And having looked at the crowded market place, I think all are struggling to find a competitive differentiate-able marketing message that truly separates one from the other and gets the attention of senior leadership.  It’s a lot like hospitals and health systems messaging. See one hospital and you pretty much have seen them all from the messaging they use.

Everybody is buying the same data.  Everybody claims to have the most comprehensive data sets. Everybody is claiming to be a market leader.  Everybody claims to impact the workflow of the hospital or health systems everybody harmonizes the data from across the healthcare ecosystem, etc.  We’re your partner.  We measure what matters to make meaningful change.  Well, one gets the point.

Each vendor has its data scientists, algorithms, weighted variables, statistical analyses, care alerts etc.  So who do you believe beyond case studies and "client" testimonials where they exist or vendor claims, sales presentations etc?

How about this idea?

I have found as a marketing executive, that it’s a challenge sometimes to get an organization past the enchantment of and “this is the best thing since sliced bread”, we have a better mouse trap organizational thinking that clouds marketing decisions.  And given the recent predictions that the hospital market will contract by 30 percent over the next five years through liquidation and acquisition, the stakes for all of the vendors old and new are high.

The Contest

How about the population health vendors all go head-to-head in a contest? That’s right. A winner takes all contest and see who has the best population health analytics platform and systems, and how they measure up against their claims.

I could see it now, all  the population health vendors going head-to-head  with the same data sets for population health analytics problem.  All the vendors who are making the claims of being the best and the brightest in this field all go head-to- head and prove it.  And since the data would be patient specific de-identified so that no HIPPA violations occurred, and the outcome of treatment is already known, their analytic results could be weighed against actual experience.

Isn't that a novel approach?

I bet hospitals and health systems would love this contest. I also bet the population health vendors would hate it.  I know that is not that simple as described and it would take a lot of work.  But it’s an interesting thought. Kind of like Klas on steroids.

And if I were the VP of Marketing in a population health environment, I’d challenge competitors in the market very publically about going head-to-head. Yep, put the internal opinions and beliefs of the senior leadership’s, client testimonials and statements regarding the capabilities of the population health solution on display.  Put your money, systems and claims on the line to separate from and dominate the competition. You want to create fear in a competitor going against you in this space in a shrinking market, than this is how you do it.

It’s called a Blue Ocean strategy.

Game on?

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