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December 13th, 2022

Our stories: Becoming more visible on the global healthcare stage 

Erik L. helps Cook share knowledge with global decision-makers and thought leaders in the field of health economics

Erik L. is the Health Economics manager for Cook in the United States, and his team is part of the Health Economics & Reimbursement function. Erik was invited to present at the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) in Washington, D.C. This was a great example of Cook working to have a positive influence and a voice in the wider healthcare industry, so we decided to reach out to Erik and learn more about this experience.

From left to right, Erik L., Lotte Steuten and William Canestaro at the ISPOR conference to positively influence the healthcare industry

Working in healthcare and health economics

For his entire professional career, Erik has been involved in healthcare. After starting out in public health programming, epidemiological research, and disease surveillance, he moved to working in Health Technology Assessments for ten years, five within the US health insurance space and five in hospitals. He has consulted for pharmaceutical and device companies and holds a PhD in Health Economics and Outcome Research (HEOR).

“I decided to specialize in this field because health economics can solve problems,” Erik said. “In an ideal world, every patient could receive the best treatment, right away. However, in reality there are very limited resources, and health economics is needed to optimize the resources we have.”

He added, “It is an interesting puzzle. You have to work with so many pieces. It explores issues related to the production and consumption of healthcare and to any factors which might influence it, such as efficiency, competition, regulation, and peoples’ preferences.”

One thing for sure is that Erik is passionate about his work. He excitedly discusses that through economic analyses, Health Economics teams can assist in defining the services needed by the patients.

“Health economics can also be used to determine what needs addressing to improve the health of a nation,” Erik explained.

Through impact analyses, these teams can provide authorities with an estimate of the impact on the country’s healthcare budget of a new intervention.

“Health economics is complex, but it is all worth it in the end,” he said. “The way we explain and support a technology will make a difference in a patient’s life and access to their needed solution.”

Presenting at ISPOR

Because of his long-standing experience in this field, Erik was selected to be one of the presenters at the 2022 ISPOR Conference in Washington, D.C.

The International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research was founded in the later 1990s by a small group of thought leaders with the goal of advancing the science and practice of health economics and outcomes research (HEOR) around the world. Its membership has been growing over the decades, and currently includes around 14,000 individuals from more than 100 countries worldwide.

ISPOR is a pivotal network for healthcare leaders, where researchers, regulators, payers, policy makers, healthcare providers, patient organizations, academia, and life sciences industry can meet through its membership and activities. It is the leading unbiased source for scientific, peer-reviewed good practices guidelines, and educational and training tools in the HEOR field.

Sharing knowledge at ISPOR

It’s no secret that getting approved as a presenter for ISPOR is very competitive. The selection requirements are extremely rigorous. In this regard, Erik was fully supported by his Cook team in the weeks of preparation before the conference.

During his presentation at ISPOR, Erik was not alone on the podium. He worked alongside two high-profile experts in this field, William Canestaro, PhD, MSc, managing director at the Washington Research Foundation, Seattle, Washington, and Lotte Steuten, PhD, MSc, deputy chief executive at the Office of Health Economics, London, United Kingdom.

Lotte, William and Erik serving on a panel together at the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research

“I consider William and Lotte as my mentors. It has been a great pleasure to work with them and continue to learn from them over the years,” Erik shared.

Their presentation focused on early-stage Healthcare Technology Assessment. This process is intended to help technology owners make evidence-informed decisions about further investment in the development of medical devices, especially with expected public reimbursement or procurement.

“As the cost of bringing a new health technology to market continues to climb, more and more firms, developers, and investors are searching for tools to prioritize their efforts on the technologies with the greatest potential for clinical impact and market viability,” Erik said.

While health economic analysis has long been established as a necessity to inform decision making for market access and reimbursement, it is increasingly being used at earlier stages of product development for healthcare and life sciences to increase the access rate of research and engineering, and efficiently prioritize data collection. The number of available methods for this field has continued to expand. Erik, Lotte, and William’s presentation aimed to demystify the objectives of early-stage Healthcare Technology Assessments and the methods of translational health economics.

“We shared our knowledge on a stage with global decision-makers and thought leaders in the field of health economics, so it was also a great chance to increase our (Cook Medical’s) visibility on the global healthcare stage,” Erik said.

“This was a very interesting opportunity for Cook for many reasons,” Erik explained. “It was an example of how we strive as a company to continually improve through different experiences.”