What is an IDN?

What is an IDN?

An integrated delivery network (IDN) is a large healthcare conglomerate that operates a network of healthcare facilities such as hospitals and clinics. IDNs have long been fixtures in the market access landscape and are known for their ability to deliver quality, coordinated patient care.

What are the main goals of IDNs?

The main goals of IDNs are to coordinate and improve overall patient care. IDNs can also help drive increased market share, centralize communication, and improve patient outcomes.

How does pharma partner with IDNs?

For pharma, partnering with IDNs can be very beneficial. IDNs have much to offer, including helping improve contract terms, aiding in increasing market share, streamlining communication, and making patient outcomes better overall. Manufacturers are changing their IDN commercial strategies to go beyond financial incentives. Manufacturers can focus on engaging IDNs in the clinical trials process, working with IDNs to improve patient education and support, and operationalize care and make it more efficient.

Each IDN will have its own priorities, so in addition to monitoring coverage, manufacturers should be familiar with their IDN customers’ unique characteristics, features, and business models to tailor their partnerships to the IDNs’ specific needs.

For manufacturers, a one-size-fits-all approach to IDN engagement shouldn’t be the norm, because there are external factors that have positioned IDNs to keep growing in both size and scope. Manufacturers need a true strategic partnership with IDNs that includes robust customer data.

What are predictions for IDNs and merger activity?

M&A activity slowed down during 2020, but because many IDNs received accolades on their ability to deliver quality, coordinated care during the pandemic, merger activity is predicted to start picking up.

Overall, IDN merger activity is expected to rise, which will result in growth of newly consolidated healthcare stakeholders. As IDNs continue to expand their reach and influence, it will further shift the balance of power away from payers.

Why IDNs are starting their own specialty pharmacies

Many IDNs have started their own specialty pharmacies to control distribution, increase revenue and improve patient care. Having their own specialty pharmacies lets IDNs intervene when patients aren’t getting the full value of their medication by accessing EHR systems for tracking outcomes and adherence. And, by owning specialty pharmacies, many IDNs can offer support services like product education, financial assistance, and adherence tools to patients.

IDNs that own or plan to own specialty pharmacies face challenges, too. Some manufacturers will leave them out of limited distribution networks to keep visibility into distribution. Others may require IDN-owned specialty pharmacies to have specific accreditations. But given the increasing scale of today’s IDNs, and the number of drugs that need to be administered in a healthcare setting, manufacturers would be smart to incorporate IDN specialty pharmacies into their distribution strategies or risk losing market share.


Learn more about MMIT’s Pulse Analytics solution, which allows pharma manufacturers the ability to monitor drug coverage at the brand and IDN level, and offers insights into the structure, clinical pathway alignment and behaviors of more than 200 IDNs.

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