I just talked to a vice president of supply chain for a large healthcare system who is looking for the correct path he should take to reinvent his system-wide value analysis program since he isn’t happy with his existing model. He told me that he was thinking about hiring a value analysis director, but isn’t sure that’s the answer. He is also toying with the idea of hiring a consultant to get him organized to save, but isn’t sure if that’s his answer either. He then asked me what I would do if I was in his situation.
My answer was that I had been in his shoes many times over my career and that I found, through the school of hard knocks, that first and foremost he needed a solid foundation before he hired a value analysis director or consultants. Otherwise, he would revisit this issue over and over again. This had been my experience early on in my value analysis career when I had organized, trained, and facilitated value analysis teams, and I didn’t get all of the elements right the first time.
The secret, I told this vice president, in healthcare value analysis was to close the loop on all his VA essentials by developing a strategic value analysis plan before he hired his new value analysis director or launching his new value analysis program. As Thomas Carlyle pointed out, “Nothing is more terrible than activity without insight,” and that’s what a strategic value analysis plan can help you avoid.
To this end, a strategic healthcare value analysis plan has many similarities to a strategic, long-range planning process in that it is a systematic and defined planning process. This enables a healthcare organization to appraise the strengths and weaknesses or gaps in their current value analysis strategies and tactics and then devise new strategies and tactics for reducing and controlling their hospital’s supply chain expenses.
It all begins with defining your vision, mission, and values for your new or refined value analysis program in terms of what your aspirations are one, two, and five years out. What savings and quality goals are real and achievable? What policies and procedures are required to align them with your new and reinvented hospital value analysis program? What steps do you need to take to train, manage, and control the outcomes of your new value analysis teams? What problems or hurdles can you anticipate that would threaten the success of your value analysis program? And how do you get started?
These are just five of the hundreds of questions that need to be asked and then answered to get your new or refined hospital value analysis program off the ground successfully.
So if you are thinking about starting, refining, or reorganizing your value analysis program, like my vice president colleague I just talked about, it’s not something to be entered into as just another routine supply chain project. It needs to be thoroughly and extensively planned and thought-out so that you have a solid foundation that will be built to last for many years to come. To do less is to risk failure out of the gate or at best marginal results from your value analysis teams once you have launched your new or refined value analysis program.
To avoid these negative outcomes, make sure that you close the loop on your value analysis essentials with a highly organized strategic value analysis planning process that answers all of the critical questions needed to smooth the road to your inevitable value analysis success.
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