Leaders from the UK’s digital health ecosystem will be at #HIMSS20. In advance, here are some suggestions for British and American health tech executives on how to engage with your transatlantic counterparts.
Let’s imagine a new health technology that can create a live, virtual simulation of an individual based on that person’s unique genomic and phenotypic information. The technology can accurately diagnose any condition and model the effectiveness of a wide range of interventions including nutrition, exercise, pharmaceuticals, surgery, etc. This would transform our ability to diagnose and care for individuals.
How would you pitch such a technology?
Here’s how a British founder/CEO might pitch this…
“20 years ago when I was working as a software engineer for Google, I first met Prof Nigella Hoggard at the University of Cambridge. We both felt the accuracy of healthcare diagnoses and treatments could be improved with the employment of personalised medicine and set about developing a technology to move us in that direction.
"After much experimentation, we managed to develop a unique algorithm that could map the function of a person’s liver in real time. Over the last 10 years we have worked with the NHS to incorporate genomic and phenotypic information, validate the enhanced algorithm, develop its predictive potential, and expand it to additional organs.
"Today our technology can produce a bespoke model of an individual’s body, which clinicians can use to diagnose patients to a very high degree of accuracy and simulate the positive and negative effects of different treatments. We believe it could generate efficiencies by eliminating multiple scans, labour cost, wait times, readmissions and ineffective treatments and have a transformational effect on care for patients around the world.”
And here’s how an American founder/CEO might pitch this…
“Our new one-of-a-kind technology has launched a new era of health diagnosis and care: true personalized medicine. Now you can diagnose any patient’s condition, model the effects of any health intervention on that patient, and predict outcomes with incredible accuracy.
Built off our proprietary algorithms and using individuals’ unique genomic and phenotypic information, this tool is the world’s first personalized health simulator. In a pilot program with KOLs across five leading US health centers, the program greatly improved the health of the target group, reduced readmissions by 80%, and achieved patient satisfaction levels of 98%. We are now poised to scale up and bring the benefits of this technology to patients around the world.”
Let’s unpack the differences in the two approaches.
The British pitch is a story that solves a problem and builds to a conclusion.
The US pitch is a headline and supporting information, like a news article.
Solution for British health tech companies pitching to US healthcare providers: ‘Flip the script’ – i.e. start with your conclusions (success selling to the NHS) and then provide evidence (just the most important) and the backstory as needed.
Solution for US health tech companies that are pitching to the NHS: You don’t necessarily need to flip the script, but you can boost your credibility with some backstory. UK clinical decision-making follows established pathways and national guidelines, so well-published research and evidence (ideally from the UK) is also a must.
The US pitch uses more dramatic language.
The British pitch is more reserved.
Solution for US companies pitching to an NHS representative: The rep might not trust a supremely confident pitch that failed to acknowledge any limitations. Try a bit of humbleness and extra detail.
Solution for UK companies pitching to a US health provider: At a busy conference like HIMSS where time is tight, a US health provider accustomed to hyped-up pitches from US health tech companies might think that a British pitch indicated a lack of confidence. Focus on the positives and keep it simple.
For the NHS: In a single-payer system, the main objectives are to improve the health of the population while keeping costs down. Improving care delivery and eliminating the need for certain procedures will be beneficial.
For US providers: An NHS-style value proposition might map to US payer-provider organizations, but under a fee-for-service model, a different equation will be required. The objectives could be to reduce readmissions (and the associated penalties), deliver a similar service at a lower cost (with no changes to reimbursement), or attract new patients with world-first treatments or technology. Remember, eliminating revenue-generating services might be undesirable.
Regardless of where you’re from, chances are you are passionate about improving people’s health. Your counterparts will be, too. To ensure you speak the same language, just remember to flex your style.
John Hoggard is Vice Consul and US Head of Healthcare at the UK’s Department for International Trade, and Roshana Mehdian, Director, Hardian Health and Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon (Registrar) in the UK’s National Health Service