Hospital value analysis committees (VACs) have significant opportunities to evolve into direct contributors to broader Triple Aim efforts. VACs can be influential forces in infusing greater quality and cost controls over departmental purchases.
For example, consider a patient who has developed peripheral artery disease due to a long-term smoking habit. Hospitals eager to improve population health might guide the patient to a smoking cessation program. That same patient may need stents implanted to re-open clogged arteries.
Now, shift to the VAC meeting. A new stent up for evaluation carries a bigger price tag than a stent currently in use, but it shows statistically better outcomes and a lower readmission rate one year after implantation for patients with certain complex case factors. VACs using a matrix that compares price tags and short-term data might dismiss the new stent, but those that think in terms of population health will weigh the near-term costs against demonstrated superiority in longer-term outcomes, the ability to more reliably treat more complex cases, and avoid future readmissions.
As for evaluating innovation, consider the issue of category creation: A hospital evaluating hernia mesh may ask, as part of a like-to-like VAC evaluation framework, “What tissue is this product derived from.” A new biosynthetic material not derived from animal products would have no basis for comparison in such a framework, limiting hospitals’ abilities to determine whether the new mesh is an appropriate solution simply because of its dissimilarity to what was already on shelves.
See related article: How Innovation Can Start with Value Analysis … But Often Doesn’t
Karen Root is the value analysis committee resource team lead, Gore Medical Products Division.