Sometimes the Easiest Way Is the Simplest

Robert W. Yokl, Vice President/COO, SVAH Solutions

It was just a regular working week for me until I received an email from a health system’s value analysis coordinator with a data request. They wanted to standardize all their respiratory products across their health system and needed some reports to help them along to share with their customers and subject matter experts. Before I do anything I quickly bring up their utilization system to see exactly where they stand with at least three major respiratory product categories to see if the juice is worth the squeeze.

The Best Measure for Any Product Category

First, I look at their cost per adjusted patient day on endotracheal tubes, then breathing circuits, and finally ventilator masks, which quickly gives me the confidence that their costs are okay but could be better and that there are in fact standardization opportunities on a number of these major categories. I see the win that they see when they requested the special reports. Right away I can tell that if accomplished correctly, this standardization product will bring them the reduced costs and perhaps help them negotiate better pricing in the very near future. Always good to know at the start of a project that you are working on a winner. That is a plus for my customer’s value analysis team and customers as we can’t afford to have dry holes on any project anymore, let alone waste our time working hours, weeks, and months to find out our project results equal little or no gain. Or worse, cost us more!

The Best Evidence That Can Be Used In Every Situation Is Your Own!

Now if I saw that their costs were below industry and historical best practice levels for these three major products, I would have suggested that the standardization efforts may not be necessary because of superior cost per metric levels. I do this on many occasions when I get similar calls or emails from customers. Whether they are standardized or not, I think the bottom line should be cost levels of any given product should be most important versus just standardizing for standardizing. That does not mean that I am against standardizing, but if your product category is well below cost per metric standards historically and comparing to cohort best practices, why should we care that they are using one or two more vendors? 

Not all instances happen like the one above but there are many similarities that we face in value analysis that we can take for face value (promises) or we can have our own historical data and comparative systems to make our own judgements. I believe that these simple systems and measures will tell their own stories so that you can make the quality decisions without having to take any leaps of faith or waste precious time in the process. Even though savings and better-quality outcomes is the prize in our industry, to us in the trenches the most prized possession is our time and level of quality work we do for our organizations. We must have better systems to meet these new demands so that we only work on the true winning projects and leave the little or no positive results projects behind.