Biopharma engagement with integrated health systems and organized customers has increased in importance and complexity. Community prescribers and small group practices continue to affiliate with large integrated delivery networks (IDNs), health systems and organized group practices, reducing the influence of the healthcare provider’s prescribing autonomy. Commercial organizations continue to face a shift in their product portfolios that includes traditional mass-market products approaching loss of exclusivity (LOE) and the launch of more complex specialty products, rare disease and Cell & Gene Therapies requiring Specialty Pharmacy engagement.  

As a result, healthcare customers are expecting a transformation of omnichannel engagement and an understanding of their customer’s business needs. With these changing expectations, what does the biopharma industry need to do to be successful when engaging IDNs?  

Syneos Health® panelists Managing Director Christopher Lisanti; SVP, Market Access Strategy, Spherico, a division of GSW, Sara Sasso-Rubin; VP of Market Access and Patient Support Kim Plesnarski and Exec. Managing Director Tony Lanzone discussed this at Asembia’s AXS23 Summit—their insights are summarized below.  

The Seven Critical Success Factors of Integrated IDN Engagement

1. Know Your Customer  

“If you’ve seen one IDN, you’ve only seen one IDN,” said Christopher Lisanti during Wednesday’s panel. Biopharma needs to conduct deep customer research, segmentation, and profiling in order to create a successful customer engagement strategy. Are our IDN/health system customers open or closed? Where do they get their information? These are all questions biopharma should be asking during customer insight gathering in order to create a successful omnichannel engagement plan.  

2. Core IDN Data-Set

A core IDN data set is a collection of data points that are essential for understanding the IDN’s structure, processes, and priorities when engaging with them. The data sources are typically integrated then can be used for segmenting and prioritizing accounts, analyzing the IDN's organizational structure, clinical processes, and financial priorities.  

3. System Profiling

Analyze referral patterns, integration levels, market potential, and levels of control. By gathering and analyzing this information, you can develop a comprehensive understanding of the IDN's structure, processes, and priorities. This allows you to tailor your messaging and product value proposition to align with the IDN's goals and needs, which can increase your chances of success when engaging with the appropriate stakeholders.

4. Create Payer Profiles and Coverage Assessments

To create a payer profile and conduct a coverage assessment, your company should gather information from multiple sources, including the IDN's billing and reimbursement departments, payers themselves, and any publicly available data on payer policies and reimbursement rates.

Once you have this information, you can use it to tailor your messaging and product value proposition to align with the IDN's reimbursement priorities and needs.

5. Standardize Field Training  

Establishing standardized field training protocols is essential for successfully engaging with IDNs. By providing your sales team or representatives with the necessary institutional selling skills and coordinated messaging and product value propositions, you can increase your chances of success and build a long-term relationship with the IDN.

6. Key Account Management Collaboration  

Collaborate with key stakeholders within the IDN, working closely to gain a deeper understanding of their needs and develop a customized engagement strategy that addresses those needs. Help to provide cross-functional coordination guidance and consistently track KPIs to ensure that you’re on the right track.  

7. Field Resourcing

Allocate resources to ensure engagement efforts in every level of the field, including the areas of sales teams, key account managers, account medical liaisons, and reimbursement/REMS support.

IDNs are seeking more meaningful, customized collaborations and partnerships. By ensuring your company employs these critical success factors and strategizes an omnichannel engagement plan, you’re on your way to a more mutually beneficial relationship.

About the Author:

Hannah Dietz brings over four years of experience in marketing and digital strategy to her role as a Marketing Strategist at Syneos Health Communications. During her time at Syneos Health, she has gained invaluable experience working across agency brands on everything from social media strategy and branding, to public relations and copywriting. Previously, Hannah worked at a digital marketing agency, where she specialized in paid advertising and SEO, and prior to that she worked in public relations.