The Healthcare Hub

No Time for Mistakes: Defining a Clear Process for New Product Introductions

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

As hospital supply chain and value analysis teams currently face unprecedented prioritization and efficiency challenges, they need to become nimbler than ever before. According to data from the American Hospital Association, labor and supply costs have recently seen 15-20% percent spikes driven by staffing issues and supply disruptions. At the same time, operating margins have declined by 20%. All this leads to more fires with fewer people to fight them.

To help relieve some of this stress, I joined my colleague Erinn Zacharias, PhD, during a recent webinar to highlight some of the most important considerations for quickly and effectively evaluating and approving new medical devices.

The Importance of Evidence

First and foremost, we strongly believe that all clinical product decisions must be anchored in evidence. After all, product decisions can significantly impact patient outcomes, as well as the safety of both patients and staff. Much like any other major decision we make in our personal and professional lives, some legwork is necessary to compare options and reach an informed decision.

When we talk about evidence, we are of course referring to the information you find in peer-reviewed literature, but our definition extends beyond that to also include:

  • Physicians: Taking the time to build relationships with your health system’s physicians empowers you to tap into them as a rich source of information related to risk and safety, product differences and other attributes that may be important when caring for patients.
  • Post-adoption monitoring: Tracking the impact of newly adopted products is critical for ongoing clinical and financial success.

Defining the Process

Establishing a standard process for new product introduction builds trust with physicians and clinicians and helps set clear expectations with vendors, leading to fewer disruptions. I believe there are three critical components in a sustainable process:

  1. Access to technology that lets you create a customized request form tied to evidence
  2. The skill to identify and recruit physician and clinician champions to cultivate peer-to-peer conversations
  3. Clear, established decision criteria and authority within cross-functional committees

For any product evaluation, the first step must involve context setting. This includes developing an understanding of both the product being requested and the rationale behind the request. Once that occurs, the next step should be to conduct a more in-depth evaluation of the current landscape, product attributes and current clinical practices.

Beyond the need for speed and efficiency, the current challenges are creating broader opportunities for supply chain and value analysis teams to make valuable and meaningful contributions to their health systems’ ongoing success. While these are difficult times for all of us, I look forward to seeing how the expanded use of evidence as part of a clearly defined process can lead to positive and lasting clinical and financial outcomes in the days and years ahead.

Watch the webinar.
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Suzanne Smith

Solution Advisor, Lumere