Andreessen Horowitz partner Julie Yoo and Bassett Healthcare CDO Paul Uhrig recently gave Healthcare Dive their playbook for entrepreneurs looking to partner with health systems, which included plenty of insider tips to stand out in a crowded field.
Getting in the (right) door is the first step to any pitch, but an academic medical center with a healthy mix of payor contracts will have a different lens than a rural hospital serving mostly Medicaid patients.
- Advice: Research target health systems and make sure they align with your product’s value proposition. Make sure you’re reaching the right person, which usually involves multiple stakeholders across clinical, operational, and financial leadership. The value proposition needs to hold up to each.
Making the pitch will vary by health system (an asterisk that could probably be added to every tip), so it’s important to tailor all information and supporting data to individual priorities. This section stresses that it’s “imperative” to illustrate a positive financial impact.
- Advice: Don’t be afraid to ask about budget and clarify your revenue model. Even if stakeholders like the solution, it’s moot if they aren’t able to find the funds for it.
The evaluation process can run the gamut from informal discussion to formalized diligence, but health systems aren’t usually opposed to giving visibility into the evaluation checklist.
- Advice: Upfront qualification work is intended to de-risk the implementation process and identify potential blockers early. Be prepared with case studies and references from other customers to support the evaluation process.
Pilot programs are a health system favorite, but clearly defined success criteria and a commitment to move forward if those are met are two key ways to avoid “death by pilots.”
- Advice: Try not to get hung up on IT integration, and if possible steer toward an implementation scope that requires minimal integration before phasing into a full-blown integration to ramp up to your product’s full value.
As Yoo and Uhrig describe it, partnering with providers is a bit like “making an emulsion from oil and water,” especially at a time when many of them are grappling with rising labor costs and slim margins. Health systems see a daily flurry of startups offering to solve these problems, and if this playbook makes one thing crystal clear, it’s that the only way to get a pitch to land is to make it hit squarely in the center of their individual needs.