Effective Employer-Vendor Partnerships: Encouraging Positive Disruptive Innovations in Healthcare
Julie A. Meek
US employers are facing an unprecedented opportunity to contribute toward positive, disruptive innovations in healthcare. The convergence of major trends will enable employers to exercise significant leverage in controlling healthcare costs and improving quality. US healthcare is ripe for disruptive innovations - cheaper, simpler, more convenient products or services that start by meeting the needs of less demanding customers. Employers view the healthcare system as overbuilt and off-focus for the needs of the average employer and employee. There are powerful driving forces and some restraining forces on employer leverage over employee health initiatives. On balance, employers have an interest in and an opportunity to leverage disruptive innovations in healthcare. One option that employers can use to leverage disruptive innovations in healthcare is partnership with health management vendors. While traditionally this association has been an arms-length customer/supplier relationship, there is an effective process for development of strategic partnerships that employers can use to better exert their latent influence on healthcare. There are at least 5 critical success factors for effective employer-vendor partnerships: 1. establish a formalized strategic planning process; 2. gain commitment and support early in the process; 3. identify specific goals, objectives, and accountabilities; 4. clearly define the partner selection process; and 5. clarify partner roles and expectations.
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