Value analysis is a challenging process. Here are a few best practices used by the best hospital value analysis programs in the world:
1. Identify “Nice to Haves” vs. “Must Haves”
A seemingly obvious, yet important distinction to make when considering new products for your facility is differentiating between the “nice to haves” and the “need to haves.”
A “nice to have” is a product that doesn’t directly solve a problem your facility is experiencing. Especially in facilities with a more limited budget, focusing resources on current challenges — whether they be operational or related to patient outcome, will help direct value analysis discussions toward more urgent, explicit decisions that should be made.
Aside from quantifying the value of new products, solicit input from nurses, physicians, patients, and your Materials Director. The perspective and examples offered by your coworkers will help you define which products are truly “need to haves.”
2. Create relevant data
Value analysis can and should be a quantifiable process. One of the most helpful adjustments to a value analysis process is defining value in measurable terms.
Not only will this strategy provide you with clear cut answers to which product will bring your facility more value, but it will make it easier for you to assess changes associated with implementing a new product.
Measuring success can be daunting. Hospitals and health systems collect an overwhelming amount of data, but managing it doesn’t have to be as complicated as one might think. By defining your own standard of value, you will have a better idea of which metrics to pay attention to as new products enter your facility.
Keep in mind, you may need to adjust your scale. A benefit to measuring change allows you to see how your initial value assessment matches up with value demonstrated upon implementation. If these values don’t match, look into which data points are outliers and adjust your evaluation method accordingly.
3. Make your value analysis process transparent to the rest of your facility.
The best way to enhance a value analysis process is to increase awareness and educate those who may not be directly involved in the process as well as recognize those who have contributed to facility-wide improvements.
Several programs have begun publicizing their value analysis achievements. This can be in the form of posters showcasing a new product — list the associated advantages in terms of effect on patient outcome and expected savings. Not only will this make people aware of the process going on behind the scenes, it will inspire them to continue striving to make your facility better.
Raising awareness will also help keep everyone on the same page. Knowing why decisions were made, understanding the logic behind value analysis decisions will ease transitions to new products and encourage a mentality of improvement instead of simple cost cutting.
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