For hospital systems in 2020, value analysis is a pressing subject. With medical costs greatly surpassing the national inflation rate, an increase in internal responsibility placed on hospital systems, and complex regulatory structures, building a vigorous and mature value analysis infrastructure is all but a requirement in order to deliver cost-efficient, quality-driven, and outcomes-focused performance. 

 

In this article, we present GreenLight’s Value Analysis Maturity Curve, which outlines the different processes that mark an increasingly developed VA infrastructure. When progressing through the value analysis maturity curve, it is important to remember that stagnancy within any stage is not only possible, it is frequent. Consequently, many hospitals fail to reap substantial results and remain absorbed in the early, cost-intensive processes where savings may not surpass infrastructure investment. Intentional and synchronous efforts are needed to climb to the next stage in the curve and realize meaningful results. 

 

 

Stage One

In Stage One, physician demand in terms of product requests and GPO contracts are the primary drivers of procurement, and there are no formal strategies or measurement tools in place to perform value analysis. This reactive stage is marked by a lack of standardization and consistency when it comes to product and processes. When hospitals operate under this stage, daily transactions rather than strategic efforts command focus. Without a dedicated infrastructure to support collaboration across departments, physician engagement is limited to new product requests, and executive leadership lacks involvement. Finally, data plays an insignificant role in Stage One, as any evaluated data is most likely exclusively sourced from suppliers. 

Stage Two

Stage Two makes advancements through the creation of value analysis committees. While VACs have little experience and training at this point, they are seen as gatekeepers to procurement. The creation of VACs also introduces procurement accountability, as it diminishes the potential for inappropriate motivations behind physician requests, including non-disclosed investments. Efforts to increase the presence of value analysis include information gathering both internally and externally as well as goal setting, the introduction of product review, analysis in cost reduction, and the elimination of waste, including instances of misuse. At this point, the primary focus and motivation is cost reduction as paper-based efforts guide ad-hoc value analysis. 

Stage Three

Stage Three marks a shift from reactive processing to proactive strategy as VACs become a robust asset that leverages technology solutions. Using technology serves as a key steppingstone towards building a clinically integrated framework. However, clinical evidence and data-driven ROI are still lacking in this stage as cost reduction remains in the driver’s seat and physician engagement is limited. Efforts include standardization across systems to increase consistency of processes and products, improving effectiveness and representation of VACs through a multidisciplinary approach, and increased education to amplify expertise within VACs. 

Stage Four

Stage Four makes substantial strides towards an integrated framework by prioritizing two leaders in successful value analysis: clinical evidence and physician engagement. Bolstered by technology and feedback loops, physicians serve on committees as well as become champions of collaborative efforts. In value analysis, data, specifically clinical evidence, is gold; it locates the elusive sweet spot where clinical outcomes and financial demands cohabitate. However, in order for evidence-based decision making to take place, data needs to be specific, high quality, and diverse to ensure accuracy, which is the motivation behind gathering clinical evidence outside of supplier-provided streams in Stage Four. 

Stage Five

In Stage Five, value analysis becomes increasingly proactive as it shifts focus to predictive measures including longer-term ROI and the entire care cycle of the patient. Decisions in this stage of the maturity cycle are never made without high-quality clinical data, and standardization allows the promotion of anticipatory measures in the chance of disruption in the supply chain or variation in patient needs. The benefits of value analysis and an integrated supply chain far outweigh the cost of infrastructure in Stage Five, as efforts locate the opportunity where quality, outcome, and cost intersect: the optimal balance necessary to remain sustainable in the current climate of increasing costs and greater fiscal responsibility. In Stage Five, value analysis is embedded into the hospital system through C-suite ownership, a centralized and transparent knowledge database, interdisciplinary input, and robust communication. 

 

It is clear that a shift towards proactive strategies and away from reactive mindsets is a crucial step towards becoming a high-achieving network. However, a lack of resources and support can make fine tuning and escalating value analysis even more challenging in the early stages of the maturity curve. Building any new infrastructure will bring challenges and opportunities, but utilizing software to support collaborative value analysis from a distance has become a crucial resource, especially in the COVID era. We would like to offer you access to a free trial of GreenLight Medical’s cloud-based value analysis software here: FreeTrial