Most healthcare value analysis studies are very complex and take time to accomplish because all the elements of a successful study don’t just materialize overnight. Not to mention the fact that an individual hospital value analysis practitioner could have anywhere from five, 10 or even 25 studies in their pipeline at any given time and/or are assisting project managers with their own studies. This workload can quickly become overwhelming and paralyzing if you don’t keep it simple.
The following is a five-step approach that we employ to help to make our client’s healthcare value analysis studies simple, yet highly effective:
1. What Are You Trying to Accomplish: How will you know where you are going with your hospital value analysis studies if you don’t identify your goals and objectives up front? One of the biggest mistakes value analysis practitioners make is not asking themselves:
a. How much savings am I looking to achieve?
b. What is the scope of the study? (e.g., department-wide, organization-wide, system-wide, etc.?)
c. What are my quality goals, if any?
Asking these simple questions will make what you are trying to accomplish much clearer to you, and your boss. More importantly, it will make it crystal clear to the clinicians or department heads, who will be working with you on your study, what the goals and objectives are. Lastly, you will also know, with certainty, when your study is completed because you would have met your goals and objectives.
2. Triage/Assess Your Study: Every time I work on a hospital value analysis study myself or with a client, using the data that I have in hand at the moment, I try to triage/assess exactly what my strategy or approach will be for this value analysis study, such as:
a. Is this price/contract related?
b. Is it a utilization misalignment?
c. Is it a value mismatch?
d. Is the product or service feature-rich?
e. Is there waste or inefficiency in its value streams?
Having an idea of what type of opportunity you are looking for will save time and help you shape the type of data that you will need to collect and analyze.
3. Identify the Key Players as Soon as Possible: It’s critical that you know the constituencies (or players) you are dealing with right up front, rather than to miss a key customer or stakeholder down the road. Additionally, I always like to search out my internal expert, who knows the most about this product or service, to educate me on how this product or service is used at their healthcare organization.
4. Collect Specific Data: Based on your initial assessment you should know what type of specific data you will need to collect (e.g., price, utilization, inventory issues, etc.) for your hospital value analysis study. However, you don’t want to collect too much data that is irrelevant or it will only slow down your study. It will also, over time, burn out the sources for your data (internal or external) who won’t be able to keep up with your requests.
5. Keep it Simple: The most accomplished healthcare value analysis practitioners can handle dozens of value analysis studies at one time because they “keep it simple” by sticking to their goals and objectives. They understand that they may be leaving a few dollars on the table untouched, but they also know that they are saving hundreds of thousands of dollars annually by keeping their value analysis studies simple, manageable, and timely.
So there you have it, a five-step approach to simplifying, speeding up, and streamlining your hospital value analysis studies. You might even call it a checklist to ensure that you aren’t taking the long road to success, but are instead taking a shortcut. Why make your value analysis job any harder than it needs to be? Keep it simple, with even better outcomes!
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