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From ‘Doing Value Based Healthcare’ to being a Value Based organization



As a result-oriented person, I really loved the opportunity to train different types of people, when I started my career as beginning rehabilitation specialist. From healing to gain muscles, relieving back pain, running the 100 meter dash faster, to developing fitness, the goals varied greatly. I was so proud whenever a client would reach his or her goals after weeks or months of hard work. Yet another successful trajectory completed!

But when do we speak of success in healthcare? And what does this mean? Success for the patient, success for the hospital, success for society? Moreover what does this success entail, how can we measure it, and even more importantly, improve it continuously?

Value Based Healthcare
For me, success means delivering the best healthcare-related outcomes that are relevant to individual patients. Comparing these outcomes within and outside your organization and constantly improving upon them, will increase the quality of healthcare. Striving towards maximum outcomes for each euro spent, improves healthcare in a sustainable way. In doing so, it is important to take into account the full healthcare cycle. Focus on value is the linking pin between the patient, his/her caregiver and other stakeholders in healthcare. Nothing is more effective than a common goal. A complex task, given the 528 pages needed to describe this theory of Value Based Healthcare (VBHC) (Porter & Teisberg (2006) “Redefining Healthcare”).

Discussing this VBHC-theory in both work and private life rarely faces opposition. On the contrary, most times I sense people are surprised this is not current practice yet. It feels so natural to design healthcare based on outcomes that are relevant to patients and to focus on consistently improving upon these outcomes. Is this not the way in which we once started? In his book ‘Designing Care’, Richard M. J. Bohmer described how it is possible to design and manage healthcare in a better way in the current world – a world in which medical knowledge and treatment options have increased exponentially. Everything revolves around providing healthcare that matters to the patient, with happy patients and doctors as result.

From theory to practice
Why is it that something that sounds so good is not yet daily practice? Some of the hurdles to get from theory to practice are experienced within the current healthcare system. Take for instance the change management needed, adjustment of data systems, and also redesign of the healthcare system. For example the financing of healthcare, which is now based on volume delivered (e.g. number of operations), instead of outcomes achieved. To overcome these barriers, we need VBHC-frontrunners to lead their organizations down the path of value-driven and outcome-oriented healthcare.

Our challenge
Within Amgen I work in a dedicated Value Team in which we actively work together with partners to change the healthcare system in a sustainable way and to tackle the barriers. As a biotechnological company, we also face the challenge to show which value we provide for patients and ensure that we improve this value over and over. Eventually, Amgen wants to transform from delivering medication to delivering successful treatments, for which financing no longer takes place based on the products and services, but on result of the treatment. This does not only involve drug treatments, evenly important to achieve the best outcome are facilitating proper use of our medicines, developing innovative healthcare concepts and stimulating an active role for patients.

In order to realize this, good and transparent cooperation and trust are needed between all stakeholders in healthcare. From the common interest to optimize value for patients, we will find each other and guarantee cooperation. One way of doing this, is implementing validated outcome sets together. Our Amgen Health Care consultants work closely together with healthcare providers, healthcare managers, patients and health insurers to improve healthcare based on relevant outcomes within the medical areas that Amgen is involved in.

I am proud to be part of this Amgen team. I want to be a catalyst for implementation of Value Based Healthcare. Starting small and building upon that, reaching the best healthcare for the patient together, step by step. Do you want to take this challenge with us? Let’s get in touch!

Myrthe van den Heuvel works at Amgen since July 2014 and has been a Value Based Healthcare Manager since April 2017. She graduated from the University of Leuven - Physical Education and Human Movement Sciences Master’s program and is a Certified Value Based Health Care Green Belt.