“Part of the success process is to make mistakes, learn from them, and become an even better healthcare value analysis professional.”
No one wants to have their mistakes pointed out to them, especially in the highly charged supply chain world where costs, quality, and outcomes are paramount to our success, but that does not mean that they don’t happen. Mistakes do happen and part of the success process is to make mistakes, learn from them, become an even better healthcare value analysis professional and apply what we have learned moving forward. Sounds simple, right? The challenge is that we need to be able to realize we are making these mistakes and take corrective actions. The worst thing that could happen is that you continue to make simple mistakes and thus do not take yourself to new levels of advanced value analysis success.
The mistakes outlined below have been made by all of us at one time or another.
Mistakes to Avoid in Healthcare Value Analysis
1. The Worst Number in Value Analysis is One – “The buck stops here” can easily be a mantra for VA professionals as we are, in many cases, the final line of defense when it comes to new and existing products’ cost optimization. There are many instances in which the end customers are asking for a particular product and thus we only focus on the product that they are asking for and fail to perform a true value analysis functional assessment of the incumbent product as compared to the new product. Most importantly, we don’t offer alternatives to the new product that they are requesting and thus are pigeon-holed into approving the product they are asking for. But if you are truly performing value analysis correctly, you should have at least three options to select from, and it is okay if the incumbent product is one of those options.
2. Giving In to Colleagues Too Easily – New product requests always require us as VA professionals to work with our colleagues, and it is hard to say no to your colleagues. In the case of a cost optimization review, we might have to tell the department head and/or manager that there is something wrong with their product selection, or that there is inefficient use or consumption. This is really tough, and it is easier to just let things slide with minimum review, but times are tough, and we need to hold the line on our new product assessment requirements and cost optimization review standards. We are the keeper of the process and if we allow a new product in or don’t cost optimize then costs could get too high, and we may never have another chance to correct it.
3. Failing to Ask All the Right Questions – Value analysis reviews are not an exact science, and one question does not always suit every product. The mistake that always seems to happen is that we fail to ask key questions that can reveal the value, or lack thereof, of a product. Failure to ask the right questions leads to ambiguity in parts of your value analysis review and thus can come back to haunt you down the road. It could be a quality, functional, or reimbursement question that could end up being most important to the overall value of the product you are working on.
4. Relying Too Heavily On Outside Evidence – Outside evidence and peer reviewed data is great to have when you can get it but it always seems to be in short supply in order to answer the most important value analysis questions. Even with great evidence in hand you must still perform your own value analysis reviews and tests of the products that you are considering for use at your organization. I for one like to look at the FDA MAUDE reporting instead of any shiny evidence that may or may not fit the hospital or health system’s unique requirements. Value analysis is the study of the function of a product and whether those functions meet our customers’ requirements reliably. If the product you are analyzing has a laundry list of FDA MAUDE reporting, then that calls into question the reliability aspect. In the end, we must trial/test the product’s suitability to our own organization.
5. Stopping at the First Savings Opportunity – It is too easy to find the first best savings opportunity for any given product or product category and then stop there without completing a full value analysis review. I have seen this happen countless times and we always encourage value analysis professionals and team members to keep going and to complete their full value analysis reviews. Why? Because if you found big savings easily then there is more than likely still a lot more there that you can wring out. Why leave money on the table? Plus, you want to be thorough and complete your full value analysis review. Otherwise, someone will have to revisit the VA review sooner rather than later.
There are many more areas that we can highlight that challenge value analysis professionals but the key takeaways here are geared towards helping you not make the mistakes that happen to others, including myself over the years. The school of hard knocks is hard enough without making avoidable mistakes and costing you valuable time and your organization cost and quality.
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