Why climb a mountain when you can take an elevator? The mountain is a metaphor for you trying to change your clinicians’ behavior related to their product selection and/or reluctance to standardization. The elevator is a figure of speech to encourage you to work with clinicians on an even bigger savings opportunity (7% to 15% of total supply budget) in their utilization patterns and practices. It makes good dollars and sense to do so!
Why Would You Change What Is Working for You?
In our training/coaching sessions, we always ask our VA clients if they would change a product, service, or technology that they have been using for decades (with outstanding outcomes) to an unknown product, service, or technology that costs a few pennies less. Their answer was universally NO. So, why should you think your clinicians should change their products, services, or technologies just because you asked them to? This is a lose/lose situation for you.
Change Can and Will Happen If a Commodity Is a Value Mismatch, Being Misused, or Misapplied
To the contrary, it’s been our clients’ universal experience that 97% of their clinicians will change their products, services, or technologies if they see for themselves that these items are a value mismatch, being misused, or misapplied. This is because, with few exceptions, no clinician wants their peers to discover that they have quality or cost issues that they have ignored.
Meaningful, Reliable, Trustworthy Data Can Make the Difference
The best way to change clinicians’ behavior is to have them see their procedure or unit specific utilization reports. Only then will they take action to make positive change happen. For example, a number of our clients meet individually with their department heads quarterly to share their utilization data reports. This process then opens up a candid discussion about how they are utilizing their products, services, and technologies. In most situations, their department heads will investigate and then act on any utilization misalignments that show up on their reports. No longer do you need to twist arms to make change happen.
Praise Appropriate Utilization Patterns
During these quarterly meetings, it is also important to praise the department heads that have maintained, reduced, or improved the utilization of their products, services, and technologies. This will encourage them to keep up their good work, as opposed to falling back to old bad habits of spending thousands of dollars on products, services, or technologies unnecessarily.
The Path to Savings Can Have a Shortcut
The point of this article is to make you aware that the easiest and fastest route to saving money is to attack your utilization misalignments, instead of trying to repeatedly change commodities or force clinicians to standardize on products, services, or technologies they aren’t familiar with. A much better way is to let department heads make the needed changes to save money or improve quality once they see the utilization data for themselves. Remember: Clinicians like the change they bring about themselves, but hate the change that is forced on them.