Health economics and outcomes research (HEOR) is a young and fascinating area of research with an engaged academic community. Methodology is continuously improving, but also growing more complex. Investments by the pharmaceutical and medical device industries in HEOR are significant and continuing to grow. A recent study found that 64% of the companies surveyed reported increased spending on HEOR and market access teams with an average growth of 14%.
In a commercial context, the ultimate goal of HEOR evidence is to accelerate market adoption of new products. By convincing decision makers it’s worthwhile to invest budgets in new medical technology, HEOR evidence should directly drive the top line. But how much evidence do we have that this is really happening? What is the return on investment for health economics evidence?
When dealing with a health technology assessment (HTA) agency and national reimbursement submission, HEOR clearly contributes. We can debate how large or how convincing the contribution of HEOR evidence was within the overall dossier, but we can say with certainty that without it, the submission would not be accepted.
It is another story at the sub-national level, where the role of HEOR evidence is increasing in many regions. To reach a regional audience of payers and decision makers, we have the choice of distributing HEOR evidence through several channels: a peer-reviewed publication, a scientific poster or conference presentation, or a more direct approach, using a HEOR ‘field tool’ or ‘detail aid’. An example of these field tools includes budget impact calculators and cost comparison calculators, both of which are designed for use in customer interactions. These types of interactive tools are becoming increasingly popular as they allow for clear value messages to be tailored to each customer and are delivered within a short period of time.
This specific category of interactive tools opens new ways of answering the frequently asked question, “how much is HEOR evidence driving actually the top line”? Using modern web technology, we can implement these tools as ‘web apps’ in the cloud, so we can collect real-time analytics. Want to know - which customer facing representatives are using HEOR tools in customer interactions? Or - how much time is spent on a presentation? And - did they send a report to the customer? Since these apps can be shared with customers in a restricted manner, information can also be collected on whether customers are accessing shared information, when, and what they view.
These interactive HEOR tools are able to subsequently relate usage analytics on the tools to data on sales force effectiveness, and link the contribution of HEOR to the effectiveness of your KAMs or MSLs. One recent study of a pharmaceutical company’s market access team that used value communication and HEOR evidence reported the product’s presence increased from 36% to 50% and the unit sales trajectory exhibited a significant, upward change in slope. With the increasing use of these interactive HEOR tools in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, soon health economists won’t be the only ones who recognize the true return on investment of HEOR.