Being a Healthcare Value Analysis Professional is All About Having the Right Tools
Being a healthcare value analysis professional is all about having the right tools to be able to apply to the situational product, service, or technology that you are analyzing. Not all tools need to be applied to every value analysis review so we must pick and choose what to use on each study. But there is one tool that is universally used on every single value analysis study, bar none. That tool is the ability to ask good questions which can make or break your value analysis study.
Questions Give You the Power
Given that there could be 5,000 to 35,000 products that you use at your health system, it is virtually impossible that you could be a subject matter expert or even have enough expertise to render a nominal decision on these products. Your customers and stakeholders are the true experts who use (or supervise those that do) these products every day and they are the ones that we need to extract the right information from for our value analysis studies. So how do you do this and get it right the majority of the time? The answer is to master the art of asking good questions.
Questioning Skills Seem Easy but Can Be Rather Complex
Questions seem easy in concept, but in the value analysis world, your customers, stakeholders, and experts may not be as forthcoming as you would imagine and will spoon feed you only the information that they deem is appropriate. For example, if you ask them, “Why do you need this new electrosurgical instrument?” they will tell you only the reason why they want this instrument and perhaps the new features that they now must have. But before you even ask that question, perhaps you may want to ask, “What product is this replacing, and can you explain the functional difference between the incumbent and the new product being requested?” You can also ask whether any other physicians will use this proposed new product, or whether the product is used on a particular case, and if so, what is the case?
The Key is to Get Your Customers and Stakeholders to Provide You the Information You Need
There are so many opportunities that good questioning can open up for you information-wise with your customers, stakeholders, and experts, but you need to use good questioning skills to achieve this. I highly recommend that you always prep your questions ahead of time before you talk to a customer, stakeholder, or expert. Make sure your questions are open-ended and don’t lead to the end of the interview (yes, you are conducting interviews in VA) before it even starts. Remember, if you are asking a physician or other clinician, they are not going to have a lot of time to spend with you, so you need to be on point with your interview questions.
Think of Barbara Walters’ Old Interviews – She Always Got Them to Open Up
I would suggest you lead with terms like, “explain to me” or “tell me how.” For example: Explain to me how you are now using the Medtronic energy instrument versus the J & J? Or, can you tell me how this is going to work with replacing the old instrument versus the new? These will always open up your customers to give you the information you are looking for, and if you craft your follow-ups properly, you will get the information you are looking for and not spend as much of your or your customer’s time.
Remember to make sure that you always prep your questions beforehand on any value analysis study before interviewing a customer, stakeholder, or expert. If you are having trouble crafting questions for your value analysis interview, then perhaps you need to take a step back and develop those further as you may only have one opportunity to ask these questions to the key stakeholders, so make them good and to the point. Questions will help you win every time!
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