3 Secrets to Building an Effective Value Analysis Team

share us

With the new year quickly approaching, now is the time to reflect on both progress made in 2015 and where improvements are still needed.  This reflection requires evaluating your strategies, processes, and people.  You will most likely find that your top achievements are tied largely to the team itself—and so are your shortcomings.

The hard truth is that the shift to value also demands a shift to the value analysis team. Your current team members may be ill-equipped to navigate this transformation, not because they’re not good at the jobs they were hired to do, but rather because those jobs are evolving and will soon bear little resemblance to what they once were.

These changing roles also mean that an effective value analysis team will look very different in 2016 than in previous years.  Here are our three secrets to assembling a high-performing team:

Secret #1 – The must-have skills have changed.

In recent years, value analysis teams have focused on building relationships with physicians. However, they have been only mildly successful.  Executing on a more advanced strategy requires your team to think differently—not just about how to collaborate but rather how to lead and influence.

As discussed in the recent Harvard Business Review article “3 Things Managers Should Be Doing Every Day,” the ability to influence comes down to two traits: competence and character.  Within a value analysis team, competence translates to having analytical, problem-solving, and communication skills. Ask yourself, are your value analysis leaders unearthing insights that can help physicians and nurses better serve patients?  In practice, this means identifying issues that physicians and administrative leadership may not be aware of, asking questions to surface assumptions and bottlenecks, framing intelligent arguments to persuade stakeholders, and garnering support for actions needed.

Character is not a skill but rather a quality to embody. Within a value analysis team, it’s illustrated by consistently basing decisions and actions on values that go beyond self-interest or the bottom line—it means being patient-centered.  Competence and character must not be discounted because “if people believe in your competence and character, they will trust you to do the right thing,” and without a network of supporters even the best laid plans are destined to fail.

Secret #2 – Healthcare experience isn’t a requirement.

While hospital experience may seem like an important box to check, it shouldn’t be required, nor even sought out in your applicants.  In many cases, experience brings its own set of problems – like the inability to stray from the way things have always been done or to embrace change. “Outsiders” can be incredibly valuable additions to the team because they have new perspectives.  Experience in other industries enables them to ask smart questions, offer creative solutions to long-term problems, and suggest improvements that hadn’t even be considered.

In fact, this trend is becoming quite common across the entire industry, with more and more hospitals hiring leaders who have little to no healthcare experience. They may have worked in business, technology, or finance.  The idea is that having a diverse background allows them to be more innovative in their overall approach, as well as their problem-solving strategy, because they are not jaded by past failures.

Along these lines, your next generation value analysis team shouldn’t be comprised of all former nurses or staff hired simply because of their clinical background. We’ve seen firsthand that the most impactful value analysis team members can be former project managers, former consultants, and even former medical device representatives.  Staff with these backgrounds often excel on value analysis teams because of their expert analytical skills, solutions-oriented approach, attention to details that matter, and their tendency not to take no for an answer.

Secret #3 – It’s okay to let people go.

This secret has a double meaning.  First, we’re referring to not being afraid to aim high and recruit top talent, with the understanding that they may only stay for a few years. Some successful value analysis programs employ temporary hires from fellowship or leadership programs. Your team will benefit from hiring people passionate about making a difference, who see the impact that they can make on the value analysis team as a stepping stone, even if they’re not in it for the long haul.

Sometimes, you only need someone to get the change in motion, and then others can help keep it on track. Plus, if these team members move on to another role at your health system, they can become a much-needed advocate for value analysis in your cross-departmental network.

This secret also means not being afraid to let go of people who aren’t willing to relinquish the status quo.  While it may sound daunting to let go of staff that you need, you’re doing a disservice to the rest of your team by holding on to low performers.  Staff who are falling short convey a poor image of supply chain to the entire organization, even causing irreparable damage to physician relationships that have been years in the making.

Dropping poor performers is also a must-do because success is largely dependent upon attitude, especially when you’re dealing with such transformative change. You need value analysis leaders who are open-minded, persistent, accountable, and resourceful – not pessimistic or resentful. Whether some staff just cannot get onboard with a new approach, or are constantly complaining, their negativity can do unimaginable harm to team morale that keeps everyone else down.

And with a team of superstars now at your fingertips, there’s simply no time for that.