Developing and implementing health care system-industry partnerships: a conversation with Sprink Senior Advisor, Professor Pat O’Mahony

At Sprink, we believe sustainable change in health care can only happen when all stakeholders align on and work together towards a common vision of success.  Person-Centred Value-Based Health Care (PCVBHC) provides that vision.  As part of the services we provide in PCVBHC, we act as an expert, neutral facilitator in the development and implementation of transformative partnerships between health care systems and industrial stakeholders, such as medical technology or biopharmaceutical companies, with a focus on delivering the outcomes that matter most to people sustainably.  

Professor Pat O’Mahony is a Senior Advisor at Sprink, guiding the development and implementation of health care system-industry partnerships with a focus on PCVBHC.  In this interview, we explore Pat’s vision and perspectives around the development and implementation of ​​such partnerships.  

What is your vision for health care system-industry partnerships with a focus on PCVBHC?

Professor Pat O’Mahony: Many regulators see themselves as sitting outside the industry’s value chain, but I see them as an integral part of it. The regulator has a specific job to do [regulating medicines] but should also support the development of the industry. In this spirit, to my mind, industry and the health care system always have to work hand in glove both in research and development and in the real-world delivery of health and care services.  The regulator must support and encourage this way of working. Whether you’re a digital health, medical technology or biopharma company, you are producing a product or service that has to demonstrably contribute to improving the outcomes that matter most to people sustainably – both in the research and in the real-world setting. And if it does not do this, then there’s no market from a regulator’s perspective. 

So ultimately, health care systems and industry must work together, in partnership, united by the shared goal of working together to achieve the outcomes that matter most to people sustainably. 

Where are we today in achieving your vision and what do we need to do to move forwards?

Professor Pat O’Mahony: While there is already a substantial amount in the literature about Value-Based Health Care, I think we need to see many more examples of practical, real-world implementation and this is where my work with colleagues at Sprink is so interesting and motivating.  

In the thinking of many people working in health care, procurement of healthcare products and services is a simple old-fashioned transaction. This is currently how we work. But for Person-Centred Value-Based Health Care, it is really a new paradigm. It’s a new way of thinking, and it’s about a mutually beneficial partnership between the industry and the healthcare provider.

What are some of the key principles to support developing and implementing a health care system-industry partnership with a focus on PCVBHC?

Professor Pat O’Mahony:

From my perspective, the key principles are:

  • Understanding the respective roles of each partner.
  • Trust.
  • Understanding what Person-Centred Value-Based Health Care means.  

Taking the example of medicines, PCVBHC is not only about meeting regulatory requirements to obtain reimbursement. It’s about delivering better outcomes for patients across their entire lifetime. And very often, particularly with newer medicines, that’s a challenge because the costs can be much higher than the equivalent already on the market. We need to look at the impact over a longer period of time and the resulting saving and benefits to a productive person for the rest of their life.  

Do you see Ireland as a country that is ready to embrace health care system-industry partnerships with a focus on PCVBHC?

Professor Pat O’Mahony: All of the elements are here in Ireland.  We have very significant medical technology, biopharmaceutical and connected health sectors and this, aligned with a strong network of research centres and universities, augurs well for our ability to make substantial progress on PCVBHC, including individual initiatives and in due course, in national systems.

About Professor Pat O’Mahony

Professor Pat O’Mahony’s career has been focused on public health and health care. He was one of the first directors of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) and was the CEO of the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), the Irish medicine regulator, between 2002 and 2015. He then held the position of Deputy Secretary General of the Irish Department of Health, where he was responsible for negotiating the national healthcare budget. More recently, he was the CEO of the Clinical Research Development Ireland (CRDI), a not-for-profit research partnership between medical schools and clinical research facilities. Since 2019, he has been working as an independent consultant and chairing the Irish Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) board.  

This is the first interview of a three-part series on implementing health care system-industry partnerships with a focus on PCVBHC. In the next interview, Professor Arie Franx, Sprink Senior Advisor and Co-Chairman of the Linnean Initiative in the Netherlands, will share his views on the topic. 

Léa Marais

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