Of all the challenges healthcare supply chain professionals face, one of the most perplexing is changing the attitude of your physicians to your savings proposals. You see, if you are going to reduce the cost of your physician preference big ticket items, you need your physician’s agreement to do so. Here’s one idea that can make a radical difference in how you make this happen.
Physicians are Competitive
Dr. Mary Anna Sullivan, Chief Quality and Safety Officer, Lahely Health, tells us that, “If anything makes physicians act, it’s not being the best and wanting to be.” Physicians are very competitive, and if they can be shown that one or more of their colleagues (preferably at your own hospital) is doing something better (less costly, faster, or with better outcomes) than them, you have a good chance of changing their attitude and behavior.
This reminds me of a radiologist who was using 150ml prefilled contrast media syringes for all of his imaging procedures. He decided to change his practice when one of his hospital’s value analysis team members demonstrated, with data from his colleagues at nearby hospitals, that they were only using 100ml prefilled syringes for procedures.
If this same VA team member just told his radiology director that their hospital’s value analysis analytics showed he was using too much contrast media, nothing would have changed. Do you see the difference in these two approaches – competition vs. data alone?
The Job of Hospital Supply Chain Professionals
The fact is, most physicians want to do the right thing in their practice, but they have no way of knowing if they got it right without seeing what their peers are doing. That’s why it’s our job, as hospital supply chain professionals, to bring to our physicians’ attention to best practices.
Naturally, this can’t happen unless we have the value analysis analytical tools to identify utilization misalignments in our hospital’s supply streams and have evidenced-based studies to support the case for change that is reliable.
In the radiology case study, the hospital itself did a study of their surrounding hospitals. If you have time and the resources to do your own studies, this would be ideal, since you want to have evidence that you know is precise, timely, and relatable.
On the other hand, published studies can be just as effective in changing your physicians’ attitudes and behaviors. Either way, you won’t change your physicians’ minds and hearts with just data. You need proof that their colleagues are doing something better than them to make real change happen.
This idea (a competitive environment vs. data alone), in our opinion, is a much better idea than the old mantra, “Do it with data,” because data doesn’t tell a story but case studies, published articles, and researched papers do. Make sure you tell a story that makes your physicians think and act on your proposals!
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