Robert T. Yokl, President/CEO, SVAH Solutions
There is a Time and a Place for VA Workshops vs. VA Teams
Value analysis practitioners are used to facilitating value analysis teams or committees to vet their supply requirements, but have you ever thought of conducting a value analysis workshop for outliers?
A value analysis workshop is different than a VA team or committee in the length of its sessions, specialization of participants, and immediate outcomes. For example, if you want to standardize your cardiac rhythm devices, it would be much more effective and efficient to conduct a value analysis workshop with the stakeholders, customers, and experts of these categories of purchase than spending months trying to accommodate all of these users’ requirements one at a time.
Characteristics of a Value Analysis Workshop
The following characteristics set a value analysis workshop apart from a VA team or committee:
- Workshops are held near the category of purchase location (e.g. operating room, cardiac cath lab, radiology, etc.). This enables the workshop participants to see firsthand how the product, service, or technology under review is employed by their healthcare organization’s staff.
- The length of the workshop could be one, two, or three days, depending on the complexity of the product, service, or technology being studied.
- An outcome is expected after the workshop that satisfies the functional requirements of all of the participants.
If these characteristics are adopted, participants will achieve the cost, quality, and safety goals of the workshop without pushing or pulling the stakeholders, customers, and experts to change their behaviors. It will just happen organically.
Required Workshop Materials and Logistics
In order to properly facilitate your value analysis workshop, your facilitator will need:
- Projector and screen
- Flip chart, stand, pads, and markers
- Tape and thumb tacks
- Sticky notes
- Extension cords
If these materials and logistics aren’t already available, your value analysis facilitator is responsible to make sure they are there at the time of your workshop.
Rules For The Value Analysis Pre-Workshop
During a pre-workshop coordination meeting with your stakeholders, customers, and experts, your workshop leader will establish the workshop guidelines, which may include:
- Requiring attendance at agreed-upon times (some participants may not need to attend every session).
- Requesting that non-workshop related e-mails, texts, internet, and phone usage occur during breaks and lunch.
- Eliciting participation and consensus from all workshop participants.
- Maintaining the agenda and being punctual about starting times.
- Encouraging the workshop participants to contribute to the preparation and presentations of data, facts, and statistics on the category of purchase being studied.
This is an important meeting to set the ground rules for conducting your value analysis workshop. If this pre-workshop meeting is skipped, I can assure you that it will cause you disruptions during the sessions down the road that will need to be addressed.
Conducting Your Value Analysis Workshop
Your workshop leader (usually an individual that has no stake in the outcome) should facilitate the value analysis workshop to include:
- Establishing specific goals and objectives for the workshop’s outcome.
- Review of category of purchase to be studied ( i.e. history, vendors, statistics, utilization, benchmarking of peers, life cycle cost, etc.).
- Performing a functional analysis/functional matrix on the category of purchase.
- Using brainstorming or other creative techniques to identify lower cost alternatives to what you are buying now.
- Conduct a financial analysis of the lower cost alternatives being recommended.
- Select the one lower cost option that meets your stakeholders’, experts’, and customers’ functional requirements at the lowest cost consistent with quality outcome.
- Design an implementation plan for the lowest cost alternative your participants have selected as the optimum best value purchase.
The above steps in your value analysis workshop are meant to open up the dialogue between your stakeholders, customers, and experts so they can own their decision and support it.
When to Employ a Value Analysis Workshop
A value analysis workshop isn’t to be employed for routine purchases; that’s what value analysis teams are designed to address. Instead, value analysis workshops are specifically designed for high volume, high ticket physician preference purchases, such as, cardiac rhythm devices, stents, orthopedic implants, etc. The goal is to set aside multiple days, if necessary, to focus solely on a commodity group that is costing your healthcare organization millions of dollars annually. It is a highly effective, efficient, and controlled way to fast track your buying decisions on these highly sensitive physician preference purchases. Try it, I think you will like it!