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Added Value for a Health Care Customer – Changing Health Care as the Customer

Cost-Awareness in Health Care

Rising costs have forced the health care sector to reorganise itself. The Managed Care Organization models that serve as the basis for the Finnish reform of the social and health care services aim at the complete management of the treatment chain in order to obtain better quality with smaller costs. From the perspective of a company providing products, this means that the product price is no longer just a price but a complex entity, whereby health benefits and/or overall costs that the product creates or causes are assessed.

Still, the assumption seems to be that the primary goal of a medicine or other health technology is to provide the health benefit it was designed to provide. However, the change from times when obtaining a marketing authorisation or a CE mark was the starting shot of commercialising a product, seems like a light year ago. Cost-assessments have been an essential part of commercialisation. Facts are being denied if one imagines to get products into markets without a thorough analysis of the health benefits it provides. If the significance of the sales organisation was previously emphasised in the speeches of CEOs, today the focal point is more and more on demonstrating the health benefits and cost-effectiveness.

Customer in the Midst of an Organisational Change

As a result of the reform of the social and health services, the health care sector and people operating there will face the biggest change during their careers. From the perspective of a healthcare company, this is an ambiguous issue. A change has always a goal, and if one may help reaching the goal with one’s provision, the starting point is fruitful for cooperation.

On the other hand, a change is a challenge for the company that provides the service. People and responsibilities change, customer relations end and new ones have to be created. A change can also hurt. Therefore, one must have the sensitivity to listen and understand, because matters are always dealt with in personal communication.

Patient in the Centre of the Change

The freedom of choice for patients further increases the demands for health care provision and its quality. During the education reform in the US after the turn of the millennium, five crucial sections were specified in order to keep the personnel’s know-how up to date:

  • Patient-oriented operational models
  • Multiprofessional teams
  • Evidence-based treatment
  • Quality improvement
  • Utilisation of information technology

It is worth noting that the question is not directly one of diseases or their treatment but rather how this information is employed. The same themes are currently being brought forward in Finnish health care, and it is unlikely that their impact will decrease.

My Interest, Your Interest or Our Interest?

In this situation, following-up on the changes in the operational environment is necessary for companies providing their products and services. They also have to adapt. It should be essential to understand the goals of the customer at all organisational levels and to adapt one’s activities accordingly. Although health technology, whether it is a medicine or an equipment, is often understood through its features, listing the features alone to the customer in the hope of a deal does not work today.

Kirsi Kettunen

Senior Scientific Project Manager

+358 40 732 5472

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