As payers balance outcomes, quality metrics, and cost of care, demonstration of product value is increasingly material to the competitive evaluation, placement, and reimbursement of treatment alternatives. Health outcomes liaisons (HOLs) are a trusted medical conduit for communicating a product’s value proposition and health outcomes data to US payers. This study investigates the role and value of the HOL today from the US payer perspective and into the future, particularly in oncology.
In-depth telephone interviews with 8 US managed care representatives responsible for more than 190 million covered lives.
The traditional role of the HOL has evolved to include the combination of duties of an HOL and a medical science liaison (MSL). This evolution demands that the HOL possess a unique skill set, which includes the clinical understanding and experience of an MSL and the health services research expertise of a health outcomes and economics research (HEOR) scientist. The validity and relevancy of information communicated is a top priority in relationships with payers and helps inform impressions of the HOL, product portfolio, and manufacturer. In addition to product-specific information, payers see benefit in providing unbranded information from well-informed, balanced resources such as HOL teams. Although the frequency and types of interactions between HOLs and payers vary, the focus should be on quality and not quantity of interactions. Payers make time for HOLs who can provide value to their business and will provide support internally for regular, extended face-to-face meetings. Payers expect to collaborate with “good” HOLs and have that role serve as an objective, reliable business partner and resource for their plan.
The role of the HOL is expected to continue and expand. Manufacturers most successful at payer management strategies are perceived to dedicate HOL teams to provide medical, outcomes, and economic information to payers.
A critical assessment of the role of health outcomes liaisons
Today and the future
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