From Detailing to Value-Based Outcomes…The New World of Primary Healthcare.

Have you noticed how the future seems to have already arrived in primary healthcare? As suppliers into primary healthcare, two key areas are emerging:

  1. Economic-focused decision making
  2. Clinical patient-focused decision making

In this blog article, we address both of these areas and offer a way forward for organisations selling in the challenging and changing world of primary healthcare.

To begin, let’s look at the first point: economic-focused decision making. The consolidating nature and service expansion of community/GP practices to provide early intervention and primary healthcare places greater buying and influencing power under one roof. The developing scale one-stop-shop and specialist therapy focus, also over more opportunity. Hand-in-hand with this is the cost release potential developed through scale, reduction in cost per patient and access to cumulatively larger budgets (due to the change of 1 doctor to 20 + doctors operating under one roof). Consider the attributable variable cost reduction of the back office and support services with 2 doctors, receptionist and practice nurse compared to 20+ doctors, receptionist and practice nurse. My maths isn’t brilliant however 1 into 20 is less than 1 into 2 – okay they may have more receptionist and support staff, however it isn’t to the same ratio. GP practices are starting to evaluate the patient cost using lifetime solution, service, device metrics and/or operational excellence and data insights around cost, value, quality and effectiveness. As suppliers, you need to know this and tune your sales proposition accordingly. All in all, practices are getting bigger, more powerful and influential, and are requiring a more joined-up and commercial approach.

Secondly, we turn to: clinical patient-focused decision making. This goes beyond a therapy-focused approach to explore improvements in the total patient pathway and patient outcome effectiveness. Practices in primary care are starting to link the pathway with patient outcomes, satisfaction and the use of patient journey insight to drive value and outcome improvement. They are using this insight as the basis for sharing and collaborating.

This changing landscape places significant challenges on the pharma, devices and life sciences frontline sales and support functions. So how do we respond to this changing landscape, maintain what we have achieved so far and grow it while increasing value? How do we also combat competitors and tighter budgets?… It’s not easy!

For forward-thinking suppliers, it’s a case of getting beyond detailing or basic commercial discussions to focus on the delivery of value patient and customer outcomes reflected in addressing the core areas 1 and 2, while at the same time addressing your own internal needs for sales value. At its heart sit two sales challenges we need to overcome from this changing landscape:

  1. Focusing on the value we deliver (tactical and strategic)
  2. Cost of realisation (cost to serve and cost of sale savings)

This means managing the consolidating primary healthcare providers differently from before:

Focusing on the value we deliver (tactical and strategic) Cost of realisation (cost to serve and cost of sale savings)
1.     Customer/patient data and information to drive total practice insight.

2.     Working collaboratively to unlock tactical and strategic value in the patient pathway.

3.     Exploring patient lifetime value, quality and satisfaction.

4.     Evaluating how we will need to work and behave differently.

1.     Managing the practice as a profit centre.

2.     Being profit-responsible and understanding total cost to serve and cost of sale.

3.     Approaching the practices as key accounts, improving operational efficiency and effectiveness.

4.     Understanding the quality of your relationship and quality of the outcomes.

How can we help build a sales organisation to tackle and drive value from the new world of primary healthcare? By taking a structured and scientific approach to customer management and development. This can be achieved through the systemic application of the Customer Attuned Cycle of Commercial Excellence:

Evaluate and Define

What do we currently do – cognitive and affective?

What do we know – cognitive and affective?

Recommend and Design

Identify tactical and strategic priorities

Turn them into plans

Organise the sales, systems and support functions to reflect the opportunities

Develop key account management in the business

Establish the intentions, expectations, behaviours and attitudes required to make it happen

Execute and Measure

Implement the plans to support the value outcome delivery

Implement the plans to support the cost to serve efficiencies

Monitor the effectiveness of what we do and how we do it


The changing landscape in primary healthcare offers opportunities for the sales communities in pharma, devices and life sciences. The forward-thinking organisations can embrace this change and turn it to their competitive advantage by developing a sales community that focuses on patient and customer value outcomes. In doing so they are empowered to own the customer P&L and work in a way that drives internal efficiency, effectiveness and long-term customer and patient quality.