10 insider tips to ensure your product lands on a health system’s shortlist

December 13, 2021
Shelly Lucas Creative Director

You can follow all the pitching best practices in the world, and your product can still fall out of consideration with health system buyers. 

 Why does this happen?

To investigate, we went straight to the source. We organized a roundtable discussion with three health system innovation leaders:

What we got was an incredibly dynamic hour of straight-shooting conversation. Not only did the panelists give us a rare glimpse behind the curtain of healthcare technology purchasing, they also provided candid advice for health tech product managers. 

Below are a few tips our “Bold Bets and Breakthroughs” roundtable panelists shared with attendees.

1. Learn the health system’s innovation priorities and bandwidth.

Even if you offer the best solution for a specific healthcare problem, health systems may pass because it doesn’t align with their business strategy. Another possibility: Their innovation team has already maxed out the number of projects it can undertake for the year, which is probably smaller than you think.

2. Product security is table stakes.

If your product doesn’t have certifications like SOC 2 and HITRUST, your chance of snagging a conversation with a health system decision-maker is nil.

3. If your product fits within the health system’s enterprise infrastructure, it’s a huge (if not the deciding) advantage.

If you don’t have partnerships with core health system technologies (e.g., Epic, Microsoft, etc.), now is the time to start building them. The unfortunate reality of health system procurement is that it is far easier to buy more from an existing vendor than to start an entirely new relationship.

4. Understand the health system’s implementation timeline.

If health systems need a solution quickly, they’ll often choose a second- or third-best solution to avoid a six-month RFP for procuring the best solution.

5. Know the health system’s procurement thresholds.

If your pricing is flexible, it’s important to know the maximum price your contact can buy outright, without additional approvals.

6. Offer more than an incremental improvement.

If your product isn’t different enough from the status quo, your product won’t gain user acceptance…and your contract may not get renewed.

7. Be prepared to discuss your product’s longer-term roadmap.

Some health systems are interested in building long-term relationships and like to understand how your product will continue to align with their evolving priorities.

8. Pay attention to what the government is funding because your prospects are.

Some of the smartest entrepreneurs approach a health system and say, “We can partner with you to go after this grant” or they present their value proposition alongside a specific reimbursement program.

9. Offer de-risk strategies up front.

Offer key success criteria for your product’s implementation and performance. If your project moves forward, the health system will collaborate on these metrics and milestones, but sharing stage-specific success criteria during a pitch shows you’re committed to making your product work for the health system. It also makes your product seem less risky to adopt; with clear, measurable checkpoints, health systems will have opportunities to work with you to course-correct the project.

10. Think more broadly about your definition of success.

As health systems evaluate your product, they’re thinking about what success looks like for IT, but also what it means for finance and clinical teams.

These 10 tips represent only 15 minutes of the discussion. For more eye-opening insights, watch the full replay.

Have ideas for future Redox roundtables or webinars? Share them with us via [email protected].

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