Clinical Advisory Boards are integral to strategic sourcing
Clinical Advisory Board members support HealthTrust’s strategic sourcing process by staying current on new technology, bringing forth clinical evidence and sharing their clinical knowledge when vetting products for possible addition to the HealthTrust contract portfolio. These members enhance the work of the internal Strategic Sourcing team by validating proposed contracting strategies, supporting final strategies, and driving compliance within their facilities and health systems once products are added to the HealthTrust portfolio.
“HealthTrust has five Clinical Advisory Boards and five Specialty Committees composed of membership representatives with clinical expertise in their respective specialty,” shares AVP of Clinical Operations Jennel Lengle, RN, MSN, CCRN, NE-BC. (See below for listing.)
“HealthTrust values the clinical expertise of its board members during product vetting and selection. We utilize an aligned decision-making methodology where the Clinical Advisory Boards weigh in on the products and apply principals of clinical efficacy and value to the discussions before voting,” explains Lengle. “And depending upon the products, they are sometimes evaluated by front-line clinicians at the facility level.”
A collaborative process
“Board members are asked to vote for the greater good of the entire membership collective versus just their own facility or health system’s needs,” says Lengle. Recommendations from the Clinical Advisory Boards—along with relevant clinical evidence—are then reviewed and must be approved by the HealthTrust Supply Chain Board prior to awarding a supplier a contract.
The transformation of care delivery relies on clinical evidence and physician engagement to drive value in the contracting process. As a result, HealthTrust’s Clinical Operations and Strategic Sourcing teams collaborate with research directors on the Clinical Services team who develop Clinical Evidence Summaries (CES) for clinically sensitive product categories that have a significant impact on patient care. Credibility is added to the CES documents with input from practicing physicians who are part of the organization’s Physician Advisor program. (Read more about CES documents, how they’ve evolved and how they help.)
“Along with feedback from the Clinical Advisory Boards, Physician Advisor insights are essential in facilitating our review of products, suppliers and emerging technologies,” Lengle says.
“As suppliers submit new technology products through the HealthTrust Innovation Center throughout the year, staff clinical board directors are the initial line of review,” says Angie Mitchell, RN, AVP, Clinical Services, who manages the process for reviewing new technology. “In years when there is a live Innovation Summit, approved suppliers present their products to the HealthTrust Clinical Advisory Board that most closely relates to their product(s). Input from those board members, along with that from attending Physician Advisors, will determine if a product is recommended for addition to the contract portfolio. In years when there is not an Innovation Summit, products are reviewed by the related Advisory Board in conjuntion with the Strategic Sourcing work plan,” explains Mitchell.
“We know that members want to have more voice in the product vetting process,” says Lengle. “I’m excited to announce that we have launched a mobile app and platform where all members can provide feedback on products under review as well as suggest products for contract consideration. This feedback is being incorporated into the sourcing process.
The Clinical Operations team is working to expand the membership within the HealthTrust Advisor platform and it will be featured in the Q3 edition of The Source,” Lengle adds.
Advisory Boards in action
HealthTrust typically hosts Advisory Board meetings at its corporate office in Nashville, Tennessee. Occasionally, boards will also meet in conjunction with national industry meetings related to those members’ areas of specialty
Nursing Advisory Board (NAB) – Tara Coleman, MBA, BSN, RN, Director of Nursing Services, shares that supplier presentations and hands-on product reviews are an integral part of the NAB meetings. The most recent gathering included discussion and supplier presentations on products critical to care delivery—exam gloves. Day two afforded NAB members the opportunity to rotate through a large on-site expo with presentations by nine suppliers in the patient-monitoring product category. Members attending the fall NAB meeting reviewed drills used in neurosurgery, a patient cooling system and enteral feeding pumps. An actual patient bed was delivered from Hill-Rom to show both a contact-free continuous monitoring solution and a call alert system to discreetly notify caregivers of incontinence events.
Cardiovascular Advisory Board (CVAB) – Luann Culbreth, MEd, MBA, RT, FACHE, Director, Radiology & Cardiovascular Services, indicates the last face-to-face meeting included a “Meet the Press”-style cardiovascular roundtable that featured SMEs from the Clinical Services team: Robin Cunningham, MSN, RN, Director, Clinical Research; Kim Wright, RN, AVP, Clinical Data Solutions; and HealthTrust’s Chief Medical Officer, John Young, M.D., MBA. They were joined by HealthTrust Physician Advisor Felix Lee, M.D., Medical Director of Cardiovascular Services and Cardiac Catheter Lab Medical Director at HCA Healthcare’s Good Samaritan Hospital, to discuss the mortality concerns surrounding paclitaxel-coated devices and the current Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance. They also reviewed upcoming changes to the proposed rules from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for various procedures, including Watchman and Impella.
Radiology Advisory Board (RAB) – Culbreth shares that the RAB met in Chicago in conjunction with a national industry meeting—the Radiological Society of North America. Board members participated in hands-on equipment demos with 18 suppliers over the course of three days in preparation for an RFP on all modalities in medical imaging.
Laboratory Advisory Board (LAB) – Christa Pardue, MBA, MT(AMT), Director of Laboratory Services, shares that February’s meeting of the LAB was—to the best of her knowledge—an unprecedented event. HealthTrust hosted a “tractor trailer lab truck show” in a parking lot adjacent to its corporate headquarters, featuring five semis that housed state-of-the-art technology in chemistry/immunoassay platforms and testing. LAB members rotated through 50-minute, hands-on demonstrations from all five major players in the market: Abbott, Beckman, Ortho, Roche and Siemens. One of the attending board members indicates: “The vetting we were able to do at HealthTrust in just one day would have taken two years to try and organize on our own.”
Surgical Advisory Board (SAB) – Jennifer Westendorf, MSN, RN, CNOR, Director of Surgical Services, shares that a board discussion on the subject of FDA recalls last fall was the impetus for a story in the Q1 2020 edition of The Source on the same topic. A recent meeting of the SAB included two HealthTrust Physician Advisors providing an overview on the cerebral oximetry and arthroscopy categories. Orthopedic Surgeon Matthew Willis, M.D., discussed the importance of engaging physicians in the supply chain and new technology review processes. Dr. Willis offered insights on how a surgeon thinks and the importance of understanding both the local market and one’s surgeons when selecting products. He also discussed the realities of publication bias when reviewing research, and the new world of penalties, reimbursements and high-risk patients. “These kinds of insights from practicing physicians are invaluable in helping SAB members better understand the issues weighing on the physicians they work with at home. Hopefully Dr. Willis provided them with suggestions they might discuss at their own health system or facility to make their ORs more efficient and cost-effective while improving patient outcomes,” says Westendorf. (Read more about physician engagement.)