Small Pop Health

What Makes a Successful Population Health Vendor in 2018?

In a few short weeks, KLAS will be convening the 2018 Population Health Cornerstone Summit. This represents the third gathering of industry leaders to create, discuss, and refine the population health framework, a key component of success for the population health management (PHM) market.

In 2017, the Population Health Summit accomplished some key milestones for the development of PHM by establishing best practices for both providers and vendors.

Vendor Best Practices

Summit participants listed three key areas that vendors can focus on to improve their PHM success:

  1. Anticipating Complexity
  2. Getting the Right People in the Room
  3. Avoiding Overpromising

Anticipating Complexity

It’s important for vendors to understand what a provider organization needs and expects before a contract is created.

Vendors should engage in a discovery phase during which they honestly communicate with the provider about why specific goals have been set. Summit participants stressed that vendors and providers both should insist on the inclusion of this phase in contracting.

Additionally, both parties should expect to remain tightly engaged throughout the implementation process. Candid, frequent feedback is the key to quickly identifying concerns.

Summit attendees also recommend that vendors overinvest in implementation and be willing to walk away. Many of the summit’s vendor attendees mentioned that their customer-success teams are larger than their engineering teams. This kind of resource allocation speaks to the fact that each customer has very different needs.

Getting the Right People in the Room

How can vendors avoid limited engagement from key stakeholders?

It’s important for vendors to identify situations where they may need to call a halt to progress until the right people are engaged in the process. They should predetermine what these situations look like and plan on success checkpoints accordingly.

While many providers are on their first PHM implementation, vendors should have knowledge and experience based on projects with their previous clientele. Provider summit participants felt it was imperative that vendors establish a methodology for identifying key stakeholders.

Once key people have been identified on both sides, providers and vendors need a structured method for holding each other accountable.

Avoiding Overpromising

How can vendors better align sales teams with delivery realities while remaining competitive?

The best-case scenario is when a salesperson is tied to all steps of the implementation. In fact, most summit attendees agreed that the best sales scenario occurs when sales teams are tied to the success of their clients.

Beyond that relationship, attendees agree that candor matters. Providers should refrain from making their RFP too strict and excluding potential vendor partners. However, one provider said, “I want my vendor to be brutally honest with me.” It’s hard to overstate the importance of sales teams establishing realistic expectations.

Expectations are also heavily reliant on clear contract terms. Clarity in the language used during pitches is critical.

We’re looking forward to this year’s summit, where we can further expand on the path to PHM successes. While attendance is limited, we do want to acknowledge the voices of all interested parties.

You can take our survey on PHM and help shape the conversation here.