At GreenLight Medical, we see many interactions between Value Analysis Committees (VACs) and medical representatives, and we wanted to share a few best practices for medical reps when introducing a new product to a VAC. With the help of a great article by Kaleidoscope, a platform for experts in innovation, we curated these best practices in the form of 10 questions that every medical representative should be able to answer before completing a new product request.

By providing the Value Analysis Committees with comprehensive product data, and complying with hospital requirements when submitting a new product request, the VAC is able to make more well-informed decisions. Similarly, with adequate preparation, the new product request process can occur in a much more efficient manner. The streamlined process saves valuable time for the manufacturers, the sales representatives, and the hospitals.

1. Is the product both safe and effective?

This is the most important question. There is no reason to introduce an unsafe of ineffective product into a hospital, and the sales representative must be able to prove the safety and effectiveness of their product or device.

2. Does it replace a product that is already in use?

If your product is intended to replace one already in use, it should be clinically superior. Before submitting your product, consider what other products may be in use, and what added benefits your product would provide.

3. Does it meet all possible hospital requirements?

A majority of hospital systems enlist regulations and requirements to ensure the safety of their patients and employees. For example, the hospital may require latex free products. As stated in an earlier GreenLight Medical blog post, hospitals have seen a rise in latex allergies, especially in pediatrics. For that reason, hospitals have moved toward a latex-free environment. In doing so, they have reduced costs associated with prolonged patient stay and time spent in critical care due to allergic reactions.

4. Do you have a supporting physician for the product?

An important characteristic of the Value Analysis process is physician engagement.

A VAC is unlikely to consider a new product request without the support of a physician; as a representative, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have communicated with the appropriate physicians before submitting the new product request.

5. How does your product contribute to clinical outcomes?

Clinical outcomes assess the product or device’s impact on the patient. If the product you are submitting to a hospital does not contribute positive clinical outcomes, a hospital will be reluctant to introduce it. As the medical representative, please be sure to explain how the device contributes to positive clinical outcomes.

6. What is the proposed pricing of the product?

A key motivator for hospitals engaging in Value Analysis is the financial aspect. The Value Analysis process allows a hospital to view a device or product holistically, and make a final decision based upon the value added to the patient and the hospital. Representatives should be able to explain the origin of the pricing decisions, including all relevant contract pricing.

7. Is there extensive training required to use this new product? Have other physician adopters had adverse feedback in terms of ease of use?

Per GreenLight Medical findings, training time required is an important factor in the Value Analysis process. In some cases, extensive training is a reasonable trade-off for a lower price or clinical gains. If there is extensive training, it may be worthwhile to consider another product. While the extra time required to train physicians may not seem like an unreasonable tradeoff for a less expensive product, it may end up costing the hospital more in the long run.

Discomfort and uncertainty using a product may result in longer surgery time or physician error, putting patients at a higher risk for complication. The best insights are likely to come from physician champions who is confident in the efficacy of the product.

8. Have changes been made to reimbursement coding in this department recently?

At GreenLight Medical, we have deduced that when a hospital considers new product requests at the facility, they are aware of reimbursement coding changes, especially within the associated department. This is because coding changes are likely to have significant impact on the department’s budget.

As the representative, it is important to be aware of reimbursement changes because budgetary limits often affect the preliminary review of a new product request. If a reimbursement change has been made, adjust pricing structures appropriately if possible. The addition of a reimbursement code to your product request is helpful to the VAC.

9. Has your product been subject to any recall?

If a product has been subject to recall, it is essential that the VAC is made aware. Product recalls that are not handled appropriately have the potential to cause patient injury and procedural issues within the hospital.

10. Does your device require any supplemental products?

If a device requires any supplemental products, the additional costs will be considered by the VAC during the decision making process. It would be wise to immediately communicate any additional costs to using the device with the VAC, as it will make it easier to have open dialogue regarding the device’s advantages and value added.

Sources

Carlson, Andreya. Pass or Fail: What Value Analysis Committees Want. (2017, August 29). Retrieved January 29, 2018, from http://kascope.com/pass-or-fail-why-value-analysis-committees-matter-and-what-they-look-for-in-medical-device-design-2/