May 28

The Roles of Hospital Supply Chain Managers in Value Analysis


I recently received an e-mail from a buyer asking what her role should be in her healthcare value analysis teams. This raised my consciousness that this is a topic which isn’t often covered in the leading healthcare supply chain management periodicals, books, or blogs. However, these roles are critically important for the success of any and all value analysis teams’ performances. 

To clarify this long-standing issue, here are three important roles that supply chain managers can and should fill on their value analysis teams:

1. Facilitator: Guides their value analysis team as they navigate through their meeting and value analysis process. Listens, observes, and intercedes to ask clarifying questions. Helps to provide direction on managing the team, but doesn’t evaluate or contribute ideas. Simply stated, this role focuses the energy of the team on the common goal of improving quality and safety, and reducing their healthcare organization’s supply chain expenses. 

2. Resource: Generally speaking, this individual is a subject matter expert who has in-depth knowledge of the products, services, and technologies being discussed or studied. For example, an operating room buyer is the perfect candidate for this role on their surgical services value analysis team.

3. Recorder: All value analysis teams should have a recorder to document the main points of discussion. This role can be easily delegated to a new supply chain employee to give them an orientation into your hospital’s value analysis process.

You will note that I don’t recommend that a supply chain manager’s role be anything other than a facilitator, resource, or recorder on their value analysis teams. The reason for this is that value analysis is a customer driven process, not a supply chain process. Value analysis works best when supply chain managers labor on the periphery of their value analysis process, and then let their clinical and non-clinical team members manage your hospital, system, or IDN’s value analysis process.

One secret to your value analysis success is for supply chain managers to have a light hand on the throttle, yet ensure that the ship is going in the right direction at the right speed and not hitting any turbulence along the way. These three supply chain manager roles will go a long way toward meeting this goal.

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