Value analysis program helps keep down costs

With implant and other costs spiraling upward and reimbursement falling behind, outpatient surgery managers are always searching for ways to keep down these costs. One idea that has proven success is the establishment of a value analysis program for purchases.

Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, MI, has an aggressive value analysis program for its orthopedic purchases, says Allynn Petersen, RN, administrator of surgery. Orthopedic surgeons frequently can be "swept off their feet" by vendors selling the newest systems, she says. At Beaumont, a person with biomedical engineering experience serves as the director of value analysis and examines these new systems to see how they are different from older systems, Petersen says. He analyzes the components and also performs literature searches, she adds.

The surgeons are very receptive to this analysis, Petersen says. "I think they respect him, and I think they like that he does some of homework for them," she says. "He's actually able to help them sort out the differences."

Additionally, hospital staff educate the surgeons on costs, she says. This educational process, together with the value analysis, helps them, Petersen says. "They come to strong conclusions," she says. "They'll say, 'Don't use it then.'"

In other cases, the value analysis indicates that the product is valuable. In that case, the hospital sets a price limit and lets the surgeon select the vendor. "It's similar to what we pay for something else, unless it can be proven that it's a definite step up." [Editor's note: Do you have an idea for keeping down costs in your outpatient surgery program? Contact Joy Daughtery Dickinson, Senior Managing Editor, Same-Day Surgery. Phone: (229) 551-9195. Fax: (229) 551-0539. E-mail:]