Oli Hudson, Content Director at Wilmington Healthcare, gives an overview of a recent webinar on how pharma key account management must evolve in a changing NHS, run by the company’s Digital Learning Academy.
As COVID-19 forces pharma Key Account Management (KAM) teams to work remotely, with vastly reduced face-to-face customer contact, market access has never been more challenging.
The situation has been compounded by the fact that the NHS, which was already undergoing significant structural change, has now been forced to alter its service models further to manage coronavirus.
To succeed, KAM teams need to be fleet of foot in monitoring and responding to change and in employing best practice techniques to support customers in the challenges they face.
In a recent webinar, Wilmington Healthcare’s Digital Learning Academy – the leading online learning platform for the life sciences industry – explored the role of KAM teams.
Principles of KAM
KAM can mean different things to different people, depending on their company’s vision. But essentially all KAM teams are working towards a common goal – to enable market access for their product.
While there are different interpretations of KAM, there are three overarching principles that are common to all KAM approaches. The first one involves moving away from a buyer/seller relationship to work in partnership with the customer.
The second is all about delivering maximum value to both parties, not just in terms of the price of the product, but also with regards to the wider value that can be derived across whole care pathways.
The third one revolves around co-ordination because in order to be successful, KAM teams must have the right support internally and they must be working to a common understanding of KAM within their company.
KAM and healthcare
Although many aspects of the NHS Long Term Plan are likely to be suspended, delayed or re-assessed as a result of COVID-19 and these changes must be closely monitored by KAM teams, many collaborative working practices are already in place in the NHS.
Engaging with integrated teams brings specific challenges due to the range of stakeholders involved and the complexity of decision-making processes in the NHS.
One of the biggest changes is the move towards place-based care which requires organisations to work together to improve health and care for a geographically defined population and manage common resources.
Staff in new integrated multi-disciplinary teams are being drawn from health, social care and the wider community, including the police and housing departments, to help the NHS deliver services in a co-ordinated and joined up way.
In line with this, clinicians are being encouraged to think about wider issues in the care pathway, such as the impact of a drug on A&E attendance. Also, non-clinical staff, such as those working in mental health services for an Integrated Care System (ICS) programme office, will be influential in helping the NHS achieve important goals.
Joined-up data and reporting systems are vital for KAM teams, which need to agree the parameters, KPIs and metrics within them. A single strategic plan is required for the main account at ICS, Integrated Care Partnership/Provider (ICP) or Primary Care Network (PCN) level. KAM teams also need individual tactical plans to target stakeholders, decision-makers and prescribers within ICSs, ICPs and PCNs.
Customer mapping is vital for targeting the right key stakeholders in integrated care organisations and understanding their roles, responsibilities and sphere of influence. For example, a neurologist’s business manager in an ICP may well be responsible for delivering the strategy for long-term neurological conditions; hence they should be targeted in addition to the neurologist.
Local insight and knowledge are essential to understand where the money goes, who receives it and how it is spent as the NHS moves towards integrated budgets. KAM teams also need to keep abreast of the new plans that all local health economies must publish in response to the NHS Long Term Plan.
Overall, KAM teams must show how their products and services support the NHS in delivering wider cost-savings and service improvements, such as moving more care out of hospitals. These outcomes will be easier for the NHS to measure as it adopts multi-year contracts and integrated budgets.
To demonstrate value, KAM teams need to consider the impact a drug could have on a patient’s life from diagnosis to hospital consultations and ongoing community or charity support. Different messages about the value proposition should then be tailored to different stakeholders, informed by this detailed pathway insight.
This requirement for targeted messaging is only compounded by the COVID-19 crisis. For example, new NICE rapid response guidelines place a disproportionate emphasis on drugs, dosages, methods of delivery and monitoring that can be given outside a hospital setting, particularly for vulnerable long-term conditions patients.
Longer-term, looking at the bigger picture will be important even when dealing with a drug for a specific condition because the NHS doesn’t necessarily think in terms of services for individual diseases such as ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Rather, it will be looking at AS in the context of the wider musculoskeletal (MSK) pathway; how it operates and how improvements and financial savings can be made across it. Again, COVID-19 will accelerate this programme of looking at whole populations and what resource decisions need to be made across whole patient pathways.
In essence, there are many different ways of defining value from reducing pressure on the NHS’ workforce by administering a drug via a tablet, rather than transfusion, to comprehensive resources to support adherence or self-care, which has never been more important. The key for KAM teams is to think broadly about how they can support the NHS and understand how key NHS Long Term Plan principles, such as integrated working, underpin not only the response to the outbreak but also the future of service delivery.
To register to listen to the KAM webinar on-demand, visit http://ow.ly/3meY30qBIr5
Find out how population-based healthcare is benefitting NHS patients in this Digital Learning Academy coffee conversation http://ow.ly/MewE30qBIAD
For details on the Digital Learning Academy’s KAM course, visit http://ow.ly/Ts1p30qBIsD