What is a Value Proposition in Healthcare?

Demonstrating value to healthcare stakeholders has never been more important than it is today.  Every decision in every market is dictated by value.  If value is not otherwise demonstrated, then the basis of choice for the prescriber, patient and payer will default to price.

The aspiration for any healthcare brand is to demonstrate value. The difficulty is, as much as we try to rationalise it, “value” remains a subjective construct – it can mean different things at different times in different situations, to different people and different markets/global geographies.

Broadly speaking, in healthcare, value can be thought of as an equation.  This being the sum of the benefits gained from adopting a product/technology minus the costs/efforts required to achieve them.  Benefits are often considered in terms of ‘clinical efficacy’, ‘safety’ or ‘patient outcomes’ but may also address ‘utility’ within a given healthcare setting or wider outcomes associated with the health system (or even society) at large. Costs can be thought of holistically and go beyond the immediate cost of acquisition of the product and could include ‘associated resources’ of any type such as workforce burden or consequential costs to the health system.

All of these factors provide business teams with opportunities to define, reinforce and communicate a unique equation that explains how their proposition provides value to stakeholders in the health system in a way that competitors can’t match – the value proposition.

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Common Challenges Found When Strengthening a Value Proposition

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What is the Delphi Method in Healthcare and How Can it Help Strengthen your Value Proposition?

The Delphi Method is an approach to understanding and building consensus that was first designed and used in the early 1950’s by the US government to help determine the way future technology should be used in warfare.

Since that time, the method is often adapted to suit the settings it is now used within but at its heart is a systematic and iterative approach to communication that seeks to aggregate opinions from a diverse set of experts to generate clarity and support (evidence) based on collective wisdom.  It can be used to help forecast future impact, consolidate a position, or to define policy and many sectors are using it today including healthcare.  Many treatment or management guidelines have been developed using a version of the Delphi method.

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The method relies on an independent facilitator to work with a diverse group of experts to:

  • Define statements that help to address a specific problem or gap in knowledge

  • Understand through iterative rounds of survey and statement refinement the strength of agreement that exists around each statement


  • Consensus has been reached and recommendations can be made to consolidate the findings that are designed to directly address the original problem

The anonymous collection of group opinion coupled with a tightly structured process and quantitatively described results provides a strong level of credibility in the outputs. Healthcare evidence generated in this way is graded in the evidence hierarchy and recognised by global HTA bodies. ​​​​​​​

The additional (and beneficial) feature of communication or evidence generated using this method is peer-advocacy or social pressure.  Because outputs from Delphi programs are generated by stakeholders who represent an important constituent of the health system itself, they help create social proof for the direction recommended as a result of the work.  An important coalition of experts now have a clearer and more confident voice to call for change across peer groups and across other disciplines they work with.

5 Ways Delphi Method Can Help Strengthen a Product Value Proposition

The modified Delphi method can help businesses to strengthen a value proposition in a healthcare setting in several ways.  Here are 5 of the most common:


Closing critical evidence gaps

At a number of stages of the product life-cycle, new data is needed to support the product proposition. At registration/HTA stage there is often data needed by assessment agencies which is missing/limited and the traditional methods of generating credible new evidence would breach acceptable timeframes. Later in the life-cycle, perhaps as new competition emerges, pressure grows on cost of acquisition, generating new data to strengthen existing or new arguments becomes of greater importance. As expert opinion-based evidence can be consolidated and published in a matter of months (vs years) by using the Delphi method, this makes it a very agile way to address time-sensitive evidence needs.


Helping to educate or emphasise the need for the value proposition

One of the biggest challenges for any value proposition is its relevance and the need that any given stakeholder believes they may have for it (ice-creams for Eskimos?).  Unless the market believes that they need additional efficacy to achieve the results they are aiming for or that certain patients have more distinct requirements of their treatment, or perhaps that the need to standardise an approach towards diagnosis and management is important then it won’t buy what we’re selling.  By creating focus, urgency and clarity on issues that need to be better considered through the application of Delphi can not only provide businesses with powerful communication messages, but also delivers a group of experts who are able (and usually willing) to espouse them.


Setting new treatment standards

Considered use of the Delphi method can be a powerful tool to help define/support new management approaches, thresholds for treatment or standards of care. The reason that the method is so helpful here is that almost by definition the task is to develop something that doesn’t yet exist and so it is perfectly suited to using expert opinion to enrich the debate and then converge on the ‘right answer’ through iteration and validation. Often this type of work may lead to further research – building on the initial definitions derived through consensus.


Helping to support policy changes (at Local or National/International Level)

Any policy development in healthcare relies on evidence but it also relies on the will of stakeholders who own them to address the task in the first place.

We have seen a number of examples where the Delphi approach has helped to stimulate existing policy to be reconsidered (i.e. in light of substantial and clear expert opinion) and offered validated recommendations about new/updated policies to optimise patient outcomes and experience of care. Depending on the situation and the stakeholder groups who are engaged with, this can be equally valid to help support change to local treatment guidelines, patient management/referral pathways or to help lobby national or international policy organisations to address strategic issues with wider impact.


Building support to persuade slower-to adopt stakeholders (e.g. payers)

Unless the product value proposition is clearly providing easy-to-access cost savings of some magnitude the stakeholder group that businesses often find hardest to successfully engage with are payers. The same is true of any stakeholder group for who the VP ‘ingredients’ are not immediately satisfying.

The Delphi method can be used effectively to galvanise groups of stakeholders who hold opinions that may be useful to bring to bear with other important health system players who are yet to appreciate the broader advantages that are offered by product use. By crystalising that opinion and building coalition behind it in a credible way can be an incredibly powerful tool of persuasion and the outputs can usually be used to enhance the platform for discussion with stakeholder groups who are yet to support fully.


Discover How Triducive Can Use Delphi to Improve Your Value Proposition

Whatever the stage in product life cycle the product a business team is focused on and the core value proposition it aims to deliver on, the challenge is to communicate this in the most relevant context, with the most relevant stakeholders and build an environment that supports its potential.

Triducive are experts in facilitating the Delphi consensus method to focus and consolidate expert opinion around clinical or healthcare management questions and build a powerful voice behind recommendations for change.  With a strong background in the global pharmaceutical industry and expertise in facilitating structured communication techniques, Triducive can design and deliver Delphi programs tailored to the needs of your value proposition, with the impact you seek at the fore.

Get in touch with the team at Triducive to find out how we can help strengthen your value proposition. Alternatively, if you’d like to read more about what we do, who we’ve worked with and what we’ve helped other organisations to achieve, then visit our case studies.

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