The scope of hospital value analysis has greatly expanded over the past few years. Add in all the stockouts and last-minute substitutions that value analysis professionals have had to deal with and it can create a bit of overwhelm and frustration with performing your duties. With more maturity of the value analysis program within your organization, the expectations and end results bar has been seriously raised. There is also the need to deliver new and bigger savings to your organization to aid with the challenges in our healthcare systems’ bottom lines. The goal of this article is to give you a few quick tips to help you free up some valuable time to handle the things you need to handle and be successful while eliminating the overwhelm.
Hospital Value Analysis Tips
1. Develop Rules for Your Value Analysis Funnel. Every organization has a value analysis workflow which I refer to as a funnel, as everything has to start with your first step in your funneling process and end on whatever step is your completion/implementation point. Normally this is one to six steps in a process. In a perfect world, you would be able to handle everything that comes down through your workflow funnel, but in most cases, this causes major time issues because you spend just as much time working on a $3,725 annual spend item as you do a $350K annual spend item. Which is more important? Start to develop thresholds for what goes into your workflow and ensure others get handled on normal channels with the budget holders. Think about minimum annual spend when deciding what makes it to your VA agenda, e.g., $15K annual spend.
2. Take a Step Back and Find Your Bottlenecks. It is very easy to get caught up in the day to day of your value analysis program, so much so that you tend to ignore the bottlenecks that cause major time delays or difficulties. For instance, we had a supply chain team and value analysis manager request a whole lot of little programming changes that did not seem like much of a change in their VA workflow software, but it turns out it eliminated their bottlenecks. It ensured that the end customers provided all the necessary information and files to the value analysis team as well as improved avenues for communication on the VA projects.
3. Move Away from the Committee Approach. I have always been a proponent of the team approach to value analysis whereby each of our team members are on the VA team and can actively work on projects assigned to them. Let’s face it, we are dealing with department heads and managers who sit on our teams and if a new product or project is within their area, we are going to enlist them in this project. Why not assign the project to them to work in the VA result from initial findings to completion. Yes, you must guard against biases but for the most part they tend to come back with solid VA project results 80% of the time. This way you get to be more of a coach or only must take on the big projects that are most important. Remember, value analysis is everyone’s job!
4. Make Sure Everyone on Your Team is Trained Including Supply Chain Team Members. Never assume that team members or even supply chain team members engaging in value analysis projects and initiatives have received adequate let alone advanced level value analysis training. We are expecting more from our value analysis programs and you don’t want to be a Lone Ranger in the value analysis skills department. Create, buy, or borrow a value analysis training program that aligns with how you do business at your health system and get everyone trained.
Advance Your Value Analysis Program
To give you more time, you have to create that time now by making small adjustments and improvements to how you operate your value analysis program. This may seem daunting to try to achieve while you are enduring an onslaught of new product requests, recalls, product substitutions, and GPO conversions, but then again this is exactly why you need to start down this road to free up more time. With more time, you can advance your strategies and program even further!
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