Editor’s note: This article is an update on modelH, the dynamic co-creation forum created by Kevin Riley and Associates, Innovation Excellence, and Batterii where healthcare innovators from around the world are building a foundation for new business models in healthcare. Their goal is to co-create an open-source business model canvas that applies specifically to the US healthcare system.
Learnings on Key Influencers for the Business Model Canvas for Healthcare
We recently wrapped up our business building block sprint on Key Influencers. It was part of a double header where we also looked at Intermediaries in healthcare business models. In summary, the sprint for Project 1.7 Key Influencers completed 2 main objectives:
- Questions to Ask on the Canvas for the Key Influencers Block
- How to Identify and Use Healthcare Key Influencers
In healthcare, the successful resolution of a JTBD by a Customer Segment, and the full realization of the corresponding Value Proposition, usually requires some form of activity, activity set and/or behavior change by the User. In modelH, this activity is called Key Behaviors. Key Behaviors can be positively and negatively stimulated by certain individuals connected to the User. In modelH, these people are called Key Influencers.
Key Influencers should not to be confused with Intermediaries, which are present in a business model between the Value Proposition and the Customer Segment. Key Influencers affect the User’s understanding and completion of their JTBD, where Intermediaries affect how the Value Proposition is seen and paid for by the Buyer (which may or may not also be your User).
Everyone needs a little help! There is plenty of science that shows that people make behavior decisions easier, and have better completion rates, when they learn and act in unison with others. It is natural to the human condition to be influenced by our peers. Healthcare is no different.
This block looks at how we can best make use of the Key Influencers in our business model. Doctors, family, friends, co-workers — all of these can be informal or formal Influencers. Companies and organizations should account for and take advantage of this network of Influencers to help ensure their Customer Segments realize the fullness of their Value Proposition.
In particular, given that Providers of care are so important in the process of influencing Key Behaviors, it would be wise for a company that wants to elicit those Key Behaviors to formally work with the Influencers, thus making them a Key Partner. However, so few companies do this very well, if at all. It really calls into question so many of the existing healthcare business models that exist today.
There is a path from Influencer to Key Partner; starting first with recognizing what Key Behaviors can and should be influenced, and how a company can use Key Influencers systematically for those Key Behaviors.
Our canvas should help practitioners both:
- Design business models where Key Influencers can add value to a JTBD, and
- Design business models that transform crucial Key Influencers into Key Partners.
1. Questions to Ask on the Canvas for the Key Influencers Block
Here are the questions we determined we needed to ask for the Key Influencers Block in our modelH business model canvas for healthcare.
- What Key Influencers are required for the Buyer & User to realize the Value Proposition?
- What parts of the JTBD do the Key Influencers affect?
- How do the Key Influencers communicate with the Buyer & User?
- What is required for your Key Influencers to understand your business model?
- How can you activate Key Influencers without adding Cost?
- How do you turn Key Influencers into Key Partners without adding Cost or Complexity?
We also received some very detailed thoughts from our community around how to identify and activate the Key Influencers you defined in the canvas questions for the Key Influencers block?
Using the modelH method, we advocate that you actually create the Key Activities based on the Key Behaviors that your User must do to complete their Job-to-be-done (JTBD). The 3 strategies for finding the Key Behaviors are:
- Identify the critical behaviors that have cascading impact on the JTBD,
- Identify the critical moments when those behaviors must be acted upon, and
- Identify sources of positive deviance by looking across the User’s network to find out “who succeeds despite the odds” and “what do they do differently?”
But as we know, Users can be influenced in their Key Behaviors through others. Influence is the ability to change behavior in others. An influencer creates motivation in others to change. An influencer can motivate others to replace bad behaviors with better ones however sometimes an influencer can actually promote or reinforce the bad behaviors. In short, an influencer can make things happen. This building block is about helping the User in their JTBD through the use of Key Influencers.
How do you identify your Key Influencers?
This is the “who” part of the equation surrounding Key Influencers in modelH. What sets Key Influencers apart from others is their ability to apply, if not understand and utilize, the theory of behavior change. We talk about how to properly activate the Key Influencers you identify in the next section. The first step is finding them.
Modern behavior science shows that not all influencers are the same. As such, it is critical to find the “right” influencer and use their capacity to produce profound, rapid, and sustainable behavior change in your Users.
In modelH, we call a person who influences our customers a Key Influencer. A Key Influencer affects our Customer Segment’s (Buyers & Users) Key Behaviors, which drive their ability to complete their JTBD, and thus realize the full value of our business model’s Value Proposition. In short, we are looking to apply influence through others to ensure our customers can use our products in order to receive the best result of our business model. In this effect, we are looking at how to first, identify the Key Influencers and then second, to activate them within our Value Proposition.
Like the method we applied for Intermediaries, we suggest you try to first isolate (identify) the Key Influencers by defining a canvas specific to their business model in relation to your Customer Segment and then re-insert them back into yours based on their Key Activities, Value Proposition and Customer Relationship. We believe that this is a valid approach and can actually lead legacy businesses to rethink how they approach their own intermediaries – and possibly even seek to disrupt them. Once you identify your Key Activities, you can use the methods described here to activate them.
Furthermore, business models that seek individual health consumers as the Customer Segment will do well to systematically craft their Customer Relationship and Experience. It is essential to consider the needs of caregivers who influence health-care decisions as well as the actual patients (Users). Therefore, it is critical to actually create Key Activities for the User and (again depending on the business model) the Key Influencers, Key Partners, and Intermediaries. Each may/will be different in context as well as subtext for the Buyer/User and the various other persons in their circle of influence.
How do you activate your Key Influencers?
This is the “how” part of the equation surrounding Key Influencers in modelH.
Persuasion is the act of using deliberate communication to change the way people think, feel, or behave. Persuasion in the short term can lead to long-term influence. We advocate for using the Influencer Model to persuade your Key Influencers to influence your Users (note 1).
We have to first understand how people adopt behaviors so we can then best activate Key Influencers into the Value Proposition. It is unrealistic in most business models to provide a high touch, one to one service unless you can extract revenue through a premium price point that Buyers are willing to pay for. For those types of business models, direct activation of the User is by far better than through the Key Influencers or Intermediary. But for most healthcare business models, we need to find a means to affect high touch with a much less expensive set of Cost Drivers.
People tend to have friends who are similar to them. They “hang out” with people who share their interests, beliefs, and behavior. In behavior science, this is known as homophily. Social network research supports this concept, but in an interesting ways. Scientists have shown that humans are more likely to adopt new health behaviors when engaged in close networks of people they already know well (note 2). The research shows that getting people to change ingrained habits requires the reinforcement that comes from the redundancies that occur within a close contact network. Meaning, humans need to hear and see a new idea within their circle of friends, multiple times, before they can commit to adopting that behavior.
Based on recent breakthrough research, insights from behavioral scientists and business leaders, and as outlined in the book Influencer, we believe that persuasion from our Key Influencers can be leveraged by identifying the “high-leverage” Key Behaviors that lead to rapid and profound change. Using the “six sources of influence” model will aid in the design of the corresponding Key Activities for both Users and Key Influencers into our business model.
The Influencer Model organizes influencing strategies into six sources that both motivate and enable people to change through personal, social, and structural forces. They are the reasons why humans behave a certain way: personal motivation, personal ability, social motivation, social ability, structural motivation, and structural ability.
Here is how we suggest activating your business model’s Key Influencers to help your Users:
- Source 1 – Personal Motivation. Help your Key Influencers to build personal motivation in your Users by giving them a platform to relay relevant personal experience about the Key Behaviors.
- Source 2 – Personal Ability. Help your Key Influencers to build personal ability in your Users by giving them deliberate, hands-on practice of applying the Key Behaviors in real-life situations.
- Source 3 – Social Motivation. Help your Key Influencers to build social motivation in your Users by creating directed informal influence through the network of people they already know well.
- Source 4 – Social Ability. Help your Key Influencers to build social ability in your Users by giving them the individual support required to enact new behaviors in a team-based approach.
- Source 5 – Structural Motivation. Help your Key Influencers to build structural motivation in your Users by propagating incentives and rewards through new behaviors.
- Source 6 – Structural Ability. Help your Key Influencers to build structural ability in your Users by using technology to create cues, reminders, and reports that keep their new behaviors real and present.
Our concept of identifying the Key Activities of our Users to be affected by the Key Influencers can be applied to both good and bad behaviors. Remember, in modelH we seek to drive the Key Behaviors of our Users so they can complete their JTBD. We now know that that Key Behaviors are more easily driven when a User is connected to a body of influencers, and you in turn can leverage that structure for a positive outcome. The same can be said for stopping the negative behaviors that pull a User away from their JTBD. Change how the Key Influencers reinforce those negative behaviors, or convince your User to change their contact patterns. Likewise, while the research shows that immediate social bonds are stronger in regards to affecting behaviors, getting someone and their network of Key Influencers to engage in structured and healthy Key Activities is difficult.
Using Technology with Key Influencers
Activation of Key Influencers in your business model can be expensive and time consuming. This is where technology can play a part. Though we will discuss this in detail during our Platform building block section, it is worth mentioning here in context the enabling of the Key Influencers in your business model.
As in all business models, technology creates a lower cost of performing Key Activities and can be a competitive differentiator. As such, there has been a rush to create online communities and deploy them through traditional employer wellness programs as well as some direct to consumers. These have been improved by extension of the social wellness platform into the mobile arena. This makes sense as smartphone penetration includes greater than 50% for not only all mobile subscribers but all adult Americans as well (note 3).
Technology has always served to reduce the cost of touch. What used to require a person-to-person connection, can now be automated though technology. Nurse lines and patient calls can be set up as reminders through a smartphone. Technology also reduces the cost of compliance with Externalities. Consider how it has been applied to claims processing and electronic medical records, moving the healthcare industry towards paper-free. Technology can also reduce the prices on high demand items. For example, prices for cosmetic surgery have remained flat or dropped while producing higher outcomes, mainly due to the demand for these procedures (sixfold since the early 1990s), driving these significant technological advances.
Technology can enable, depending on the business model, the Key Influencers, Key Partners, and Intermediaries to drive behavioral change as it helps to move healthcare from out of hospitals and doctors’ offices to wherever patients are. Several studies support that technology has become a significant Channel in healthcare. But it is really only as good as the Key Influencers, Key Partners, and Intermediaries that they are using to spread information and help health consumers with their JTBD.
The 2012 study, The Pew Internet & American Life Project, found that 85% of all US adults use the Internet. Interestingly however, the 2011 publication of Surprising Decline in Consumers Seeking Health Information by the Center for Studying Health System Change showed in 2010, 50 percent of American adults sought information about a personal health concern, down from 56 percent in 2007 (note 4). This may result from the growing use of mobile technology.
In the study Healthcare unwired: New business models delivering care anywhere by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, it showed mobile technology holds great promise for keeping people healthy, managing diseases and lowering healthcare costs (note 5). In the study, Mobile Health: Uptake by Consumers and Care Providers by Parks Associates finds that consumers are using mobile technology (note 6):
- To access health and wellness information, track personal health conditions, and interact with care professionals and care organizations
- For motivational factors, satisfaction, and other health-related unmet needs
- For social networking on health-related purposes
- On games to improve their overall health and well-being
The 2012 2nd Annual HIMSS Mobile Technology Survey shows a growing percentage of providers adopting mobile health tools into their practice as another means of engaging patients directly in their care (note 7). Mobile technology, or mHealth, is powering business models in chronic disease management, senior care, pregnancy, medication adherence, and medical system efficiency (note 8).
However, at this stage most of these are still centered on practice enablement as opposed to patient enablement. This is because practice enablement represents the more lucrative revenue source for the business models that drive these technologies to market. But just because these Influencers, Key Partners, and Intermediaries are adapting mobile health, it does not necessarily translate to adoption by Users. Interestingly, another study estimated that 247 million people downloaded health apps on their mobile phone in 2012 (note 9). This was close to doubling the rates from 2011. But here again, just because they are being downloaded (many times for free or at the very low opportunity cost of $.99) are they being used? While there is definitely a growing interest, there is also the growing concern of the Externality that could be placed on this Channel if the FDA decides to view mobile health tools under the terms of a regulated medical device (note 10).
While giving health business models a better sense of how to successfully influence the influencers, technology is far from the only answer to activate Key Influencers. But it does seem to be among the best given the constraints and costs of using other methods. The trick is to find out what combination of touch (Customer Relationship), technology (Experience) and method (Channel) make the highest impact on the Key Influencers you have identified for your business model.
We advocate that you take time to define the Key Activities that you want you Key Influencers to perform on behalf of your User and your Value Proposition. In this way, you can construct your own Key Activities that are required to use the six sources of influence to activate your Key Influencers.
Take time to incorporate these approaches into the Key Influencers block in your business model canvas. Regardless of whether your business model is aimed at Patients, Providers, Payers, and or Purveyors, defining the Key Behaviors as well as the Key Influencers will ensure your Customer Segment can complete their JTBD and realize your Value Proposition to its fullest.
What is Next?
We are now looking at defining Channels in healthcare business models.
Interested in what we are doing?
Step up to the plate and get involved. We welcome your expertise and contribution as we co-create our open source business model for healthcare.
- Click here to learn more: https://www.modelh.org/modelh.htm
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- Follow us online at: https://twitter.com/ModelHForum
Notes: Source: Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change, Second Edition, Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler,https://www.amazon.com/Influencer-Science-Leading-Change-ebook/dp/B00BPO7710/ref=sr_1_1  Source: “The Spread of Behavior in an Online Social Network Experiment,” by Damon Centola. Science, 03 September, 2010.  Source: Forbes https://www.forbes.com/sites/markrogowsky/2013/06/06/more-than-half-of-us-have-smartphones-giving-apple-and-google-much-to-smile-about/  Source: Center for Studying Health System Change, Surprising Decline in Consumers Seeking Health Information https://hschange.org/CONTENT/1260/?  Source: PWC, Healthcare unwired: New business models delivering care anywhere https://www.pwc.com/us/en/health-industries/publications/healthcare-unwired.jhtml  Source: Parks Associates’ Mobile Health: Uptake by Consumers and Care Providers https://www.parksassociates.com/services/mobile-health  Source: https://www.fiercemobilehealthcare.com/story/mhealth-technology-use-clinicians-surges/2012-12-04  Source: How Mobile Devices are Transforming Healthcare, Darrell West  Source: research2guidance Mobile Health Market Report 2013-2017 https://www.research2guidance.com/shop/index.php/mhealth-report-2  Source: FDA To Regulate Apps That Turn Smartphones Into Medical Devices, Boston Globe, September 24, 2013 https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2013/09/23/fda-lays-out-rules-for-some-smartphone-health-apps/QLhG1gnmbtwGnGJDkrzZpM/story.html
image credit: Kevin Riley & Associates, modelH Business Model Canvas for Healthcare, drawings by Mike Werner
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Kevin Riley is an entrepreneur, healthcare executive, and business model innovator who works with start-ups and legacy companies across the healthcare industry. He founded and was CEO of a national health care retail company, has played leadership roles for national retail health start-ups, and served as the first Chief Innovation Officer of a major insurance plan. In 2006 he started Kevin Riley & Associates Health Model Innovation to help companies with the convergence of health care and the consumer.