by Michael Duffin, Commercial Lead in the Commercial & Innovation team at UCL Partners – 8th January, 2021

The fifth cohort of DigitalHealth.London Accelerator was announced in November 2020 and, once again, this diverse community of SMEs looks set to develop a range of exciting innovations that could have major impacts on our health and social care sector over the coming year.

As a founding partner of DigitalHealth.London, UCL Partners contribute to the support provided to Accelerator companies and this is the second year we have delivered, in partnership with Kent, Surrey & Sussex AHSN, a series of value proposition workshops to focus on this important aspect of approaching the NHS.

As a relatively recent recruit to the Commercial and Innovation team at UCL Partners, the workshops have given me a fantastic opportunity to meet some of the SMEs on the Accelerator, and to reflect on value propositions in general and what is key to their success.  

So what is a value proposition?

A value proposition is an engagement tool for SMEs and innovators. By providing a clear and compelling message on why your technology will bring value it allows you to connect your product or solution with your target market which, in the case of digital health, is usually the NHS or other health providers. 

Its aim is to construct a problem-centred narrative that coherently articulates how the solution can provide benefit and then validate this with clinical, financial and real-world evidence wherever possible.

Each value proposition is unique and it’s important to make sure it highlights exactly what value your innovation provides to whom and how your company will do this.

Top tips to approaching Value Proposition

A pitch is only as good as the value proposition behind it: Innovators can often become preoccupied with creating an attention-grabbing pitch. Although this is an important quality for a pitch, unless it also demonstrates a true understanding of who buys the product, who benefits from it, and therefore who they are selling it to, this can mean a ‘pitch’ is often misdirected. When working on your pitch don’t forget to base it on the essential elements of a value proposition.

Patient, Service, National: A good value proposition puts forward the problem, the consequence, the intervention and the impact, across three key areas. These are at the level of the patient, the level of the health service and the national level. By demonstrating value at these three levels and an awareness of how they interact, you can show that you have not only considered the breadth of benefits your technology can provide but also how it works in the wider system.

Remember who makes the decisions: A common error when developing a value proposition is to focus entirely on the patient. Although the patient is central to impact, there are several other ways in which value can be gained from an innovation, which can then have indirect benefits for patients. For example, gains in efficiency and administration can free up more meaningful clinical time with the patient. Value propositions should be multi-layered and highlight benefits at the lever of operation, organisation and budget. If not, you may limit your potential discussions with key decision-makers such as commissioners.

Keep on moving: A value proposition isn’t static but requires continued focus and iteration as the journey into the market progresses. An SME should reflect, review and iterate on its value proposition in order to progress towards a more complete and compelling narrative. Amongst the many lessons that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us is that there is a need for healthcare to be responsive to change. As such, innovators need to adapt their proposition to continually demonstrate the value they can provide as the healthcare landscape changes.

Use the support that’s available: The AHSN network can support a high-potential SME on developing their value proposition. For example, our Value Proposition workshops with DigitalHealth.London were structured to provide a stepping stone for SMEs to ‘bridge the gap’ to the NHS.  Our team is set up, by design, to provide commercial and industry support to high-potential SMEs approaching the NHS market.  By drawing on our knowledge and expertise of the NHS ecosystem, as well as our partner connections, we can help enable steady traction, but this all starts with a compelling value proposition.

Michael Duffin is the Commercial Lead in the Commercial & Innovation team at UCL Partners. If you want to find out more about the help we offer, either in terms of developing a value proposition or other areas of support for healthcare innovators please contact commercialteam@uclpartners.com or fill in our company engagement form.

DigitalHealth.London is delighted to publish blogs by the NHS staff and digital health companies we support through our programmes, as well as sector thought-leaders, experts and academics. Any opinions expressed within blogs published on our website are those of the author and not necessarily held by DigitalHealth.London. For more information, or if you would like to write a blog for our website, please email info@digitalHealth.london.