You Need Champions for Your Value Analysis Program to Excel

Robert T. Yokl, President/CEO, SVAH Solutions


Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense in the 1960s, was a champion (i.e., spoke up in favor of and supported the initiative) for value analysis in the defense department. Bob Galvin, CEO of Motorola, was a champion of Six Sigma and so was Jack Welsh at General Electric. For the most part, these cost and quality initiatives would never have gotten off the ground and been sustained at these corporations and others (DuPont, Ingersoll-Ran, and Raytheon, etc.) without the presence of these champions. It is the same with your healthcare organization’s value analysis program if it is to excel. You need champions to lead the charge and support your value analysis program to be successful.

In our value analysis consulting, facilitation, training, and coaching practice, SVAH identifies our clients’ value analysis champions at the initial stages of our orientation, strategic planning, and advanced value analysis training. We then ask our primary champion (usually the CFO) to chair the client’s Value Analysis Steering Committee that guides the value analysis program. We ask the other champions (usually vice presidents) to be administrative representatives on our client’s value analysis teams. Specifically, these value analysis team champions are responsible for:

1. Guiding their value analysis team through the political and administrative mine fields they will encounter. As you know, everyone doesn’t like change. Therefore, the administrative representative can help smooth the way to make change happen for your value analysis teams.

2. Informing their value analysis team when it needs administrative approval. Rather than guess what needs approval from other committees or teams, your administrative representative can guide your VA team through the decision-making process. This can save hundreds of hours waiting for approvals.

3. Acting as a liaison between other standing committees or teams. Your administrative representative sits on a number of committees already or has knowledge of the workings of other committees, and therefore can keep these committees informed of your value analysis activities – if it will affect them.

4. Keeping CEO and healthcare organization’s management team fully informed of their value analysis team’s activities. By your administrative representative keeping your CEO and management team fully informed of your value analysis team’s activities, you should rarely have a conflict, confusion, or a missed communication with your management team.

5. Facilitating any value analysis study or investigation with customers, stakeholders, or experts. Maybe your VA project manager can’t get an appointment with one of your department heads, physicians, or clinicians to discuss a VA project. This is where your administrative representative can intervene to make this meeting happen.

6. Becoming a champion of value analysis techniques organization-wide. Now that your administrative representative has been trained in the value analysis techniques, he or she should encourage the use of these techniques in all purchases that fall under his or her responsibility.

7. Actively looking for opportunities to give your value analysis team positive exposure to the board, management team, department heads and managers, media, and public at large. For example, having a value analysis team leader present a successful value analysis project to your management team or even board of directors.

I can’t reinforce enough how important it is for your hospital, system, or IDN to have champions at every level (value analysis steering committee and at your VA team level) to help your value analysis program excel, prosper, and be sustainable over the long term. Otherwise, from our decades long  experience, your VA teams will lose their momentum, legitimacy, and enthusiasm within the first year of your value analysis program. Trust me when I tell you that your administrative representative or champion is the glue that holds your VA team together.