Think beyond great idea, understand hospital perspective
Selling new healthcare technologies to hospitals requires jumping over hurdles like "major capital constraints" and "interminable" sales cycle of hospitals, says Paul Levy.
The former president and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center wrote on his Not Running a Hospital blog yesterday about another hurdle he sees sometimes in healthcare startups: ideas that work too well.
A story from a book called 3D Negotiation: Powerful Tools to Change the Game in Your Most Important Deals illustrates this point. When the EPA passed new standards that required anyone who owned a gasoline underground storage tank to repair or replace any leaks detected, a startup developed a leak detection system that was faster, cheaper and more sensitive than anything on the market. But as the company began negotiating with potential customers, one after the other walked away.
It's the classic case of failing to understand the interests of the other party in a negotiation, Levy writes. For the customers, the gas leak detection system could have actually created new problems. If an owner was able to detect even the tiniest leaks in his tank, he would have to go through the costly process of digging up and replace or repairing the tank.
In healthcare, the same thing can happen:
"They think that their device, technology, or information system will ‘sell itself' once the people in hospitals hear about it. People offering to sell such products often do not understand that their new idea might work too well, creating extra work or obligations or liability for the hospital."
It's possible to sell great new ideas to hospitals, Levy writes, but they need to satisfy the interests of several constituencies in those organizations.
"They must improve the work flow of the staff on the floor and units, making day-to-day life easier and not harder. They must improve the safety and quality of care, but in a manner that does not expose the hospital to greater liability: Indeed they should help reduce liability. Finally, they should demonstrate cost savings and be priced in such a manner as to allow the hospital to show cash flow improvements rather than be a drain."
[Photos by - Fotos GOVBA]