How to Win Over the Hospital Value Analysis Committee

Two experts weigh in on what it really takes to get your medical device in the hands of providers today.

Jamie Hartford

Long gone are the days when selling a medical device meant cozying up to clinicians by offering up concert tickets and lavish dinners. Yes, the enactment of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act and the rise of hospital value analysis committees has seriously put a crimp in the slick medical device sales rep’s style.

While clinicians still have a say in what devices they get to use, the new reality is that they’re not the only ones with a seat at the table. The group that decides what medical devices make it onto the hospital’s shelves is now a diverse cast of hospital administrators, care providers, and other stakeholders—and device companies that want to get their product to the masses have to please them all.

Thursday, April 13, 2016, at BIOMEDevice Boston, David Berkowitz, FACHE, vice president of healthcare insights and analytics at ECRI Institute, and L. Michael Fraai, MS, CCE, executive director of biomedical engineering and device integration at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, will explain what it takes for medical device companies to win over hospital value analysis committees today.

Here, they provide a few tips:

What’s the most important data hospital value analysis committees (VAC) need to see when considering whether to purchase a medical device?

Berkowitz: It is all about a clear definition of value for the VAC. There are many elements and perspectives on defining value based on the institution and where it is in the volume to value continuum. Some key data elements are safety, comparative effectiveness, process improvement, and quality.  While many focus on price as a driver, the goal is to get the best product at the right price.

Fraai: We currently don’t have a VAC committee. But before a medical device purchase, we consider what is the clinical drive, the total cost of ownership and operational impact.
 

What does it take for a hospital to move away from a device it has used in the past in favor of a different option?

Berkowitz: A clear difference. When devices become “commodities” or functional equivalence can be demonstrated, then decisions move toward price. Compelling evidence, not anecdotes supports change. Documented improved clinical outcomes, processes, and competitive pricing would support a move to switch suppliers.

Fraai: Poor outcomes and/or experience with a [current] technology. [The current] solution doesn’t meet [the] need [of the] clinical care practice model. Lack of support. Increased cost of support.


What are the biggest mistakes device companies make in presenting their products to hospital value analysis committees?

Berkowitz: They don’t fully examine the environment they are selling into. They tend to focus on features and benefits and not on evidence and comparative effectiveness. There must be a compelling clinical and/or economic reason for change, not simply a user preference. Also, they don’t fully engage everyone in the value analysis process—many tend to focus only on the clinicians on the reported benefits of their products.

Fraai: [They] sell a quote, not a solution for the hospital.

Jamie Hartford is MD+DI's editor-in-chief and director of medical content at UBM Americas. Reach her at jamie.hartford@ubm.com or on Twitter @MedTechJamie.

 

[image courtesy of AMBRO/FREEDIGITALPHOTOS.NET]

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