Engage Organized Customers

ZS Associates: New Ways to Engage Organized Customers

EyeForPharma, Philadelphia – Pratap Khedkar and Paul Darling, principals at ZS Associates, said we will never go back to the days of fee for service. The push to value will continue. MACRA is one critical piece of evidence. It passed 92:8 in the Senate. That means: all physicians will soon be graded on outcomes.

ZS recently surveyed organized customers and found:

  • Only 44% want to do value based care
  • But: 89% say it’s a high or medium priority or figure it out
  • 82% believe that even if ACA is repealed, value will continue to be a priority

Said another way: Organized customers are also struggling to find a way in this new marketplace. Thinking about them that way is the kind of empathy we need to develop. How do we work with them instead of against them?

A critical part of that shift is learning to talk about value in a way that’s relevant to them.

Patient Engagement

One easy way to do that is to think about the outcomes they’re measuring. For example, MACRA has 200 measures for quality; each specialty is supposed to pick six. Do you know which your provider groups have selected for their specialty?

Then, we need to collaborate to create new solutions. That’s not easy for pharma. ZS teamed up with the Healthcare Leadership Council to look at what private sector collaborations exist today that could enhance delivery. They found 51. Only 14 included pharma.

You can see them all in their Viable Solutions report.

Each of the programs was incredibly complex. Pharmaceutical leaders working with 5, 6, 10 community organizations.

  • For example, Sanofi partnered with 40 different hospitals, patient advocates, community groups, and IDNs to screen people for diabetes. 1 in 7 of the people they contacted was screened and 40% showed an abnormalities.
  • Takeda’s Sonar MD project brought together 16 GI practices, payers and technology providers to create a program that gave users a 50% reduction in ER visits and 10% reduction in total medical costs.

ZS had three specific pieces of advice for pharma:

#1 Build something with organized customers  

Payers are much more open to new ideas.


Khedkar said, “If you don’t move early, you give up changing how the payers thinks about your category. It quickly becomes too late to define mutual value in a way that benefits your portfolio.” He suggested inventing new services around the pill, beyond the pill, etc., in collaboration with the payer, not in isolation at headquarters.

The programs, he said, “won’t add millions to the bottom line at first. But if you don’t do the first collaboration, you’ll never get to the 20th one that will.”

#2 Local is the new global

Payers are very focused regional territories. It’s time to move from national rollouts to talking about outcomes on the terms of those individual players.

Khedkar believes that we’re going to migrate from relying on big data about organized customers to making decisions based on specific insights from the field. We’ll learn on a name by name basis and engage those customers in personal ways.

#3 Rethink the KAM

Actually, Darling said The KAM is dead:

  • 92% of pharma companies have a KAM in place
  • 3/4 just elevated a sales rep and gave them a new message

He believes the KAM of the future needs to be more tailored to the customer – a full program, not a single person. As an industry, we can move from KAM as a manager to KAM as a program focused on the customers’ outcomes.