Five part series:
How Value Analysis Teams (VAT) can improve overall quality, reduce costs and positively impact patient experience by engaging in global sourcing.
Part Five- by Bethany Gleim, Director of Value Analysis, ASP Global
Expansion: Building your global sourcing program to maturity.
You have completed your clinical trials, engaged your staff [Go Time: The last critical steps implementing a value based, VAT-led global sourcing program] and now your first batch of globally sourced hospital products are being used throughout your facilities. Now what?
Validate your success:
Once the products have 3 months of utilization in the clinical setting, compare their performance to the legacy products they replaced. You should also be hearing from clinicians that the patients for whom they care are being made more comfortable by their new custom blanket or amenity kit (as an example). You should then validate the cost savings and report the results to the value analysis committees and senior leadership.
You always want to do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. Regular review of the performance of your globally sourced and custom hospital products should more than likely lead you to ask the following question: how do we expand the program?
Phase 2: Identifying the next batch of globally sourced hospital products
After successfully converting the first group of products, it is time to identify the products that you will want to review in the second group of products you want to globally source. Similar to the first round of products, the next group needs to have ease of conversion, potential for quality improvement, patient experience improvement, potential branding opportunities and significant savings. Listed below are examples of some of the products that have been successful in the second phase of enhancing the globally sourced product model.
● Patient Slipper Socks. Are the socks you are placing on your patient fitting properly? Are the slippers too tight around the ankle causing poor circulation? Do they have ample tread to assist with preventing a fall on the nightly mopped floors? Do your clinicians have all the sizes and colors required to make the best selection for their patients? Is this what your patients are experiencing? If yes, then by working with your VAT teams and your global sourcing partner you will be able to determine how the socks can be improved.
● Tourniquets. Do the tourniquets the staff is using have adequate elasticity? Would the staff rather have smooth or textured, flat packed or rolled and banded? Which style and color works best for your clinical staff? Together with your global sourcing partner you will make an impact on what the staff’s satisfaction as well as your patient’s when selecting a clinically acceptable product.
● Emesis Bags. Many health systems have chosen to eliminate the plastic basins in favor of converting to emesis bags. An example of how global sourcing and listening to clinical staff feed-back can influence product design, a new emesis bag was created with an easy lock design providing additional containment, decreasing the potential for cross contamination, and improving clinical safety.
Building towards maturity:
Through the collaboration of your clinical staff, VA committees, supply chain team and global sourcing partner you have successfully converted and validated the new products. It is now time to build the framework for continuing to add new globally sourced items over the next several years. One idea is to meet with each of your department managers, all departments have different needs by meeting with the managers they can assist in determining items that can be globally sourced to meet their needs. Continue to meet monthly with your teams and global sourcing partner reviewing the potential new opportunities that were identified when meeting with department managers. While meeting monthly review the product ideas, possible clinical improvements, how the new products could impact patient satisfaction and savings impact to their individual departments and the hospital.
Given its value, your hospital global sourcing program is not a one-shot proposition. Your value analysis team should provide regular, ongoing clinical education and communication to support the program and its associated benefits. The team should continue to track program items, quality improvements, newly branded products, new opportunities for patient experience measures and cost savings reporting the results to the Value Analysis Committee who supports the Global Sourcing Program and Senior Leadership. The team should continue to meet with clinical liaisons on any and all possible improvements to currently used products evaluating usage and opportunities for standardization.
At a minimum, global sourcing helps the hospital value analysis team accomplish its mission of delivering clinically acceptable products at the lowest possible prices. But its potential is much greater: by optimizing many of the medical products used in the hospital with improvements in quality, utility, price and the patient experience.
About the author
Bethany Gleim is director of value analysis for ASP Global, a leader in global sourcing strategies and programs that enable IDNs, hospitals and large group practices to take advantage of lower costs and improved quality in hospital medical supplies available through direct sourcing, an efficient supply chain model and the global marketplace.