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During a recent webinar, value analysis leaders from the Mayo Clinic and Vanderbilt University Medical Center discussed how they have collaborated with clinical champions to drive improved economic and clinical outcomes at their health systems.

During the presentation, Teresa Dail, RN, CMRP, chief supply chain officer at Vanderbilt, and Terri Nelson, RN, director of supply chain operations at Mayo, highlighted the unique governance models that they’ve adopted and provided strategies for introducing clinicians to the value analysis process. As Dail said, “If you have the opportunity to educate physicians on supply chain, on decision making, on everything that goes into the data and analytics around utilization and variation, we owe it to ourselves to help the next generation be prepared for what’s in front of them.”

Because the webinar audience asked more questions than the panelists had time for, we posed several of them to Terri Nelson in a follow-up Q&A. Her answers are below.

Lumere: What does the value analysis team structure look like at Mayo Clinic? How many FTEs do you have, what areas do they support and how are primary responsibilities divided?

Terri Nelson: Our Value Analysis Work unit has 10 FTEs that support all Mayo Clinic campuses. This includes one director; six clinical value analysis employees (project managers who support operations for each campus and contracting category); two coordinators who focus on data, compliance and scorecarding; and one recall coordinator.

Lumere: Small companies are known to bring innovative products to market and achieve great outcomes. How do you evaluate companies that may not have a well-known brand name and may not be doing high-volume business with your system?

Nelson: At Mayo, we post a calendar listing the product categories we will be reviewing for all suppliers that includes contact information, and we encourage all suppliers to reach out. We will have request-for-information (RFI) meetings with suppliers to make sure we understand their products and how they may fit within our organization.

Lumere: How have physicians responded to the shift toward a clinically aligned governance model?

Nelson: Physician response has been positive and supportive. Our structure has changed over time as our processes and clinical relationships have matured, so we now have a value analysis representative as part of specialty practice committees. As clinical staff discuss new programs, we start to review products and contacts. These groups also discuss options for expense management and then supply chain/value analysis identifies standardization/contact compliance to assist in achieving cost reduction.

Lumere: How do you overcome long-standing relationships physicians have with vendors and encourage them to convert to another vendor?

Nelson: The answer is simple: you can’t. Those relationships exist for many reasons, so you need to instead focus on presenting sound supporting data to emphasize the value of specific products. We share this information with physician leadership—if optimal value is not achieved because of an existing relationship overrides clinical reasons, we leave it up to physician leadership to address.

Lumere: In a large, multi-hospital system, how do you create a value analysis team that reflects and is accountable for the interests and positions of a broad range of clinicians across distinct hospital groups?

Nelson: Each team has a charter which lists members’ responsibilities. In addition, we perform a stakeholder analysis, and if we do not have the right representatives on the team, we will add them or create a limited task force to assist in the review.

Listen to the recorded webinar here.