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How to Leverage Clinical Data to Increase Sales Opportunities

June 21, 2018 BY Mike Sigmon, Business Development Manager

How to Leverage Clinical Data to Increase Sales Opportunities

Healthcare providers face innumerable challenges when striving to provide high-quality care to patients at low costs. To achieve their target financial, clinical, and quality goals, hospitals and other care facilities partner with integrated delivery networks (IDNs), group purchasing organizations (GPOs), elect to participate in incentive programs from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and more. The healthcare marketplace is complex and constantly evolving via regulatory changes, new technology, affiliations, and partnerships. Suppliers and other organizations trying to sell into this industry can easily be overwhelmed by the sheer number of players involved.

In order to successfully break into the healthcare space, businesses must understand their market and outline an ideal prospect. This means segmenting the market, analyzing industry trends, and identifying the most realistic sales opportunities based on that data. Suppliers should also be aware of how various facilities and health systems make purchases. For example, some smaller hospitals may be receptive to recommendations by individual staff members, while hospitals that are members of an IDN may have rigid guidelines dictating their purchasing strategy.

There is a surplus of data for sales and marketing professionals to leverage for success in the healthcare industry, making it difficult for business leaders to determine the most relevant metrics for their team. Once critical data sets are identified, sales leaders must find a trustworthy source. While hospital financial statements, clinical metrics, and CMS program data are available for public use, sales professionals will find themselves combing through dozens of PDF files searching for the most relevant data points. Organizations like Definitive Healthcare aggregate this information, along with proprietary data, and present it in a database that is easy to search, read, and understand, drastically decreasing the amount of time spent finding data and increasing the efficiency of the sales process. Through our experience aiding clients in their sales and marketing endeavors, we've found these 5 key metrics to be the most critical in identifying top prospects and closing lucrative deals.

The 5 Critical Metrics for Selling into the Healthcare Market

  1. Clinical & Quality Metrics
  2. Financial Statements
  3. Facility Affiliations & Partnerships
  4. Technology Implementations & Meaningful Use
  5. Requests for Proposal (RFPs) & Certificates of Need (CONs)

Clinical and quality metrics for hospitals and other care facilities are generally accessible through the CMS website. Clinical metrics refer to patient care, such as number of births, emergency department visits, and case mix index. Some examples of quality metrics include: readmission rates, HCAHPS scores, hospital-acquired condition (HAC) rates, mortality rates, CMS program scores, and more. Pharmaceutical companies often leverage clinical and quality data like prescribing patterns, HCAHPS scores, and readmission rates to identify sales opportunities for antibiotics, beta blockers, pain management drugs, and more. 

In addition to accessing clinical and quality data, trended financial information is also vital to identifying a strong sales prospect. If a hospital's net patient revenue is steadily falling due to HAC penalties, it would be an ideal target for a medical device that reduces the infection rates. Staffing firms also utilize financial data to place qualified locum tenens providers and other candidates. Hospitals with tight or negative operating margins can save money by hiring more efficient care providers and administrators. Additionally, staffing firms can track technology implementations and either provide temporary staff during a training period or place candidates with an existing knowledge of a recently-implemented electronic health record (EHR) system or other technology.

Hospital affiliations and partnerships may also be accessible to the public via news articles and press releases. Healthcare mergers and acquisitions in particular often make headlines, like the CVS-Aetna acquisition or the partnership between Amazon, J.P. Morgan, and Berkshire Hathaway. Health system and IDN relationships may also be publicly accessible, though accurate GPO affiliation data might be more difficult to track and maintain. At Definitive, each hospital, care facility, and health system has its own profile that includes parent-subsidiary affiliations as well as GPO relationships. Our databases are searchable, allowing you to create a custom report, for example, of all hospitals within a health system listed by net patient revenue. This enables you to identify the proper decision-makers to maximize your impact and give you the best chance at closing a new deal.

If you'd like to learn more about how to be a competitive sales force in the healthcare market, visit our sponsorship table at the upcoming MedForce conference, June 25-26th.