VALUE ANALYSIS | Part 1 in a series
Collaboration & objectivity are required
For years, hospitals and health systems have attempted to adopt value analysis programs at varying degrees of commitment and success, while roadblocks, including a global pandemic, have sent many off track. But as costs continue to escalate and the speed of innovation soars, requiring the constant evaluation of new technology, the evidence-based practice of value analysis has become a crucial tool.
To help members reignite their value analysis efforts, HealthTrust is taking a deep dive into how to master this vital effort. This series in The Source, based on our Value Analysis Survival Guide, will provide the information you need to get started, or pick up where you left off.
Value analysis: What it is & why it’s needed
Julie London, RN, BSN, HealthTrust’s Senior Director of Clinical Resource Management, explains, “Value analysis is a multidisciplinary collaborative that looks at the quality, safety, efficacy and overall cost of a product, or even a practice or procedure. It looks at the whole picture and ensures that the highest level of patient care is delivered and that healthcare providers have an objective process for selecting products and equipment based on the value they bring to the organization.”
Multiple factors drive hospitals and health systems to engage in the value analysis process, says Aaron Walters, MBA, BSN, RN, a Director of Clinical Services at HealthTrust. Among the top reasons are rising costs and innovation in medical technologies.
- Costs are rising across the healthcare spectrum, from labor and equipment to pharmaceuticals and supplies, Walters adds. Managing the cost of labor is often difficult, so looking into non-labor areas such as products and equipment can provide opportunities to reduce costs and improve efficiencies. That’s where value analysis comes in. “You can often find a product or product category that is clinically acceptable and decrease your overall costs, which in turn allows you more funds for other areas,” says London.
- New medical technologies are emerging at a rapid pace. Therefore, it can be difficult for providers to know if the investment in a particular technology is worth it. “Being able to utilize strong value analysis allows for new products and technologies to be properly vetted across the organization and to ensure that patient needs and safety remain the top priority,” says Walters.
- Across health systems, there is a great need for product standardization, explains London. Value analysis can help by creating an avenue for organizations to implement standardization, simplify supply chain and reduce cost.
With hospitals and health systems aiming to decrease and manage expenses while also maintaining high-quality care, patient safety and improved outcomes, value analysis is crucial for organizations of all sizes. But it may be even more so for smaller facilities, London points out. “For smaller facilities, it is vital that they have a process in place because they’re more vulnerable to rising costs and do not have the bandwidth to support extra spend.”
London and Walters agree the process should be tailored to best accommodate the uniqueness of each organization. But there are universal components to achieving success with value analysis.
Building a solid value analysis team
The most important aspect of creating a value analysis process is building the right team for the job. “It’s crucial that you have a multidisciplinary approach,” says London. “You need a well-rounded group of individuals who are committed to this type of work.”
Organizations typically create a value analysis committee composed of key stakeholders from a variety of departments, ranging from supply chain professionals to physicians to executive leadership. While the size of the committee is not critical, the members are. The members of the team must be trusted and respected by their peers. Additional team member characteristics include approachability, good communication skills, appropriate experience and resilience.
“To achieve the changes that a value analysis team puts forward, team members must build trusting and positive relationships,” says Walters.
To choose your team, London recommends looking at your organization as a whole, paying particular attention to culture and where in the organization value analysis processes may already be in place. “Identify those people who stand out,” she says.
Once you have the right team in place, the real work can truly begin.
Learn more about adopting a value analysis program at your facility by engaging our Advisory Services team. Contact email@example.com to express your interest. Look for future installments of this value analysis series in upcoming editions of The Source.Share Email