My best guess is that value analysis was first adopted by healthcare organizations in the 1970s, even though it was created by Larry Miles in the 1940s. Since the 1970s, there have been many written and unwritten rules about value analysis encouraged by VA practitioners. Yet, based on SVAH’s decades of empirical experience, many of these rules are meant to be broken if you are to have your VA program grow, prosper, and thrive in the 21st Century. Here are four rules you should consider breaking:
1. You Must Be A Clinician To Be A Value Analysis Practitioner: Since value analysis is a technique that is facilitated by a VA practitioner, employing subject matter experts as their guide, there is no reason a VA practitioner needs to be a clinician. In fact, we have trained hundreds of value analysis practitioners that weren’t clinicians and adapted well to the VA process. Every product, service, and technology isn’t clinical in nature, so how can a clinician add value to a value analysis study on those hundreds of commodities? Remember, we all bring strengths and experience to the table in the VA process. If you embrace the process, you can always seek out and ask questions of those subject matter experts to achieve results.
2. A Committee Structure Works Best For Value Analysis: Even though you might call your VA initiative team-based, most VA teams that we have observed are really committees (group of multidisciplinary department heads and managers organized to share information) vs. teams (multidisciplinary department heads and managers organized as work teams). In the former, your value analysis practitioner does all the work while in the latter your team members share the workload. From our vantage point, it is much more effective, efficient, and practical to adopt a Team-Based Project Management™ Model vs. a committee as your value analysis structure.
3. Supply Chain Should Lead Your Value Analysis Initiatives: Although supply chain should facilitate your healthcare organization’s value analysis program, to be truly effective it should not be the lead on your VA initiatives. This is best left to your VA teams who should be led by a clinician if it is a clinical category of purchase. We have found this formula to be the ideal practice to obtain buy in for a clinician to make any change in their clinical practices. This does not mean that supply chain shouldn’t assist, support, and guide your VA process. It just means that they shouldn’t lead it for the best results!
4. Spreadsheets Are The Best Tool To Manage VA Tasks: Spreadsheets are great for manipulating numbers, providing quick mathematical formulas, and automatically giving you subtotals and totals on all your value analysis savings projects, but they are cumbersome to use, impossible to share in real-time, and do not show chronological team or team member activities – just financial results. That’s why it is vital for you to provide more exacting details than spreadsheets can provide on your VA team members’ real-time progress against their goals, thereby enabling you to have interventions, coaching, or additional training when your team members go off track. Like a VA team member who decided to visit every hospital in a 5-mile radius to discuss how their competitors employ their point-of-use diabetes test kits. Thankfully, this hospital’s VA coordinator was able to rein in this VA project manager because of their automated VA project reporting before this VA team member wasted her time on unnecessary site visits.
Although value analysis has a 47-year history in healthcare, we as an industry are still developing new and emerging VA best practices. That’s because nothing is ever fixed in stone. Therefore, you need to take the best practices (like the ones we have just outlined) from the best value analysis programs and adapt them to your own. That is how you become better than just good in every area of your operations!
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