Checklists Can Safeguard Your Value Analysis Process Integrity

How to get your VA teamwork done right the first time, every time.

Pilots do it. Surgeon’s and architects too. That is employing checklists to ensure the integrity, quality and consistency of their work. Yet, I have not observed even one value analysis team using checklists to safeguard the integrity of their value analysis process – unless they have been trained and facilitated by my firm. Even now that we have value analysis software to automate our client’s value analysis process, we still provide them with checklists to make sure there is consistency and reliability built into their value analysis process.

The reason we do this is that no matter how expert you or your VA team members are in your value analysis process, checklists will improve your outcomes. We all tend to veer off course, skip a critical step, or fall asleep at the switch if left to our own devices. Checklists are critically important for your VA project managers for helping them manage the depth, breadth and scope of their projects. I remember one VA project manager who was studying lab reagents and spent weeks visiting other hospitals’ labs when there was no reason for her to do so. A checklist would have hopefully put a halt to this excessive behavior.

After a quick search of our library of checklists, I discovered that we have checklists for the selection of VA team members and VA team leaders (5 pages), orientation for new VA team leaders and team members (1 page), VA project managers study guide (8 pages), pre-meeting preparation (1 page), and post-meeting critique (1 page) that we have been providing our clients. I see these five checklists as your foundation to ensure your value analysis process integrity. Without a checklist, how would you know if you or your VA team members skipped, took a shortcut or forgot a critical step in your value analysis process?

Here are three guidelines for writing your own checklist, based on Dr. Atul Gawande’s bestselling book The Checklist Manifesto:

  1. A checklist is not a set of instructions. The role of a checklist is to help identify and correct common mistakes and critical errors. It isn’t meant to be a policy and procedure manual, but instead a set of guideposts to keep you and your VA team members on the right course each and every time.
  2. A checklist should be simple, measurable and communicable. It should manage actions and communicate in simple terms that can be measured. For example, in the Understanding Phase of our Value Analysis Funneling™ process we ask our project managers in our VA Project Manager checklist: What are you trying to accomplish? This should immediately communicate the correct response of slowing down and thinking about a clear objective for their value analysis study.
  3. Test, re-test and refine your checklist. Measure its efficacy, look for items to cut, and areas to be more explicit. The best checklists are short, concise and understandable.

We all like the freedom to do our own thing. However, if you want to safeguard your value analysis process’ integrity you will need multiple lists of “To Do’s” for you and your VA team members to note, check and remember in every phase of your value analysis process. This is how you get your VA teamwork done right the first time, every time.

Robert T. Yokl About Robert T. Yokl

Robert T. Yokl is president and chief value strategist of Strategic Value Analysis® In Healthcare, which is the acknowledged healthcare authority in value analysis and utilization management. Yokl has nearly 38 years of experience as a healthcare materials manager and supply chain consultant, and also is the co-creator of the new Utilizer® Dashboard that moves beyond price for even deeper and broader utilization savings. For more information, visit www.strategicva.com. For questions or comments, e-mail Yokl at bobpres@strategicva.com.

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