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The key steps to implementing the "patient access" model of the future
When Baxalta Inc. separated from Baxter on July 1, 2015, the company had a unique opportunity to design and build from the ground up the market access capabilities required to succeed as an independent, $6 billion biopharmaceutical business. Baxalta looked ahead five years to what it envisioned were the trends in the industry, defined value from the perspective of those influencing access decisions, and specified the competencies the company needed, thereby aligning the new organization and roles to facilitate the achievement of the ultimate goal-providing patients with medicines they need at acceptable prices.
To us at Baxalta, “patient access” streamlines the value chain within our company to ensure our products meet our customers’ needs, and in the end create solutions that result in value for the patients, our company, and the healthcare system at large. While it was a significant challenge to arrive at an entirely new paradigm for our organization, the following steps were instrumental in achieving this shift that ultimately has made Baxalta a more focused organization.
1. Start with an outside-in perspective
Healthcare authorities do their best to respond to the increasing needs of an ageing and "empowered" patient population on the one hand and have limited resources in healthcare systems on the other. As such, they are often required to limit access within their respective markets to innovations they perceive as reducing costs or delivering superior value, or ideally both. While this is not a new challenge, it has become much more intense in recent years.
Baxalta realized that it must understand the value of a drug, especially of a new drug or treatment, from the perspective of those influencing the decision to provide access. This was the starting point of Baxalta’s journey to redefine market access:
In the process, Baxalta broke with a few paradigms in the healthcare industry, and validated others. "The result is an innovative, customer-centric way of ensuring Baxalta staff is optimally positioned to understand patient needs and translate these into a value proposition that matters to payers,” explained John Glasspool, executive vice president and head of corporate strategy and customer operations, Baxalta.
2. Define the competencies needed tomorrow
Instead of focusing on the gaps visible today, Baxalta’s leadership team challenged the global organization to look forward and identify the
competencies required to compete effectively in the future and to build a model that anticipates these needs. Interviewing a broad range of stakeholders inside the company helped to identify the trends shaping the market access landscape globally (see chart above). Once identified, Baxalta validated these trends with industry experts.
3. Test the model with scenarios
Securing access to innovative medicines is a team sport. How does one organize operationally to address the needs of patients, payers, providers, policy-makers, and professionals? We defined specific scenarios-such as a health technology Assessment (HTA) for a new product-to test whether the competencies were the right ones and think through how they would be deployed (see example in chart below).
Since the needs of payers and other access stakeholders at the local level differ, the scenarios helped test whether global, regional, and local roles were properly designed and the interfaces between them sufficiently clear; and highlighted the linkages with other functions critical to access such as R&D, marketing, and regulatory. Walking through the scenarios helped clarify how the competencies helped address the needs of the external stakeholders. As a result, the scenarios reduced the inevitable anxiety and confusion associated with reinventing a function such as “market access” and evolving the approach to “patient access.”
4. Prepare for a successful 'launch'
We found that in order to ensure the new model is properly implemented, we would need to approach it as if we were launching a new product. Roles and responsibilities needed to be redefined, and training programs needed to be developed to help close the competency gaps. The roles have a much more global focus, so processes were implemented to define how global teams will collaborate. Treating the launch of a new patient access organization like a product launch helped the Baxalta team involve key internal and external stakeholders from the start, allowing new ways of collaborating to better meet patient needs.
Basing the new patient access model on forward-looking competencies was a crucial step, uniquely enabling our access organization to succeed today and be ready for tomorrow’s likely challenges. Having external
opinion leaders contribute to internal thinking strengthened and completed our efforts. The scenarios were critical in helping the organization think through how these competencies would be deployed. They helped patient access professionals visualize collaboration with each other as well as the larger organization to ensure the outputs created meet the needs of the various stakeholders. Treating the launch of a new patient access organization like a product launch helped Baxalta make sure the company was prepared to embrace innovative ways of working to provide patients with the medicines they need at acceptable prices.
Peter Vanovertveld is Vice President, Patient Access, Baxalta. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thomas Bertels is Managing Partner of Valeocon Management Consulting. He can be reached at email@example.com.