Selecting the Best Products

November 29, 2015 | Formats: Article | Content Areas: Environmental Sanitation Operations, Financial Stewardship | Tags: Cost Management, Environmental hygiene and sanitation, Finance & Budgeting, Management, Suppliers

We asked Terri Nelson, RN, MA, value analysis manager with Mayo Clinic, a few questions about selecting the best health care textile products.

What does a value analysis manager do?

The role of the Clinical Value Analysis Team is to work with the end users, which includes both the clinical staff and the linen team, in selecting the best valued product for their practice.

What would be your top considerations when purchasing linens/textiles for a hospital setting?

Where is the product going to be used? That is the first question we ask. What are staff expectations? For example, if we are looking for a patient gown, we would ask clinical staff how will they use the gown and what product attributes are needed. They may say they need a patient gown that will provide coverage and allow the clinical staff to access the chest. When working with linen staff we need to understand where the product is stored. Is shelving space limited? We also ask about infection control requirements, if any.

Most people would assume that the most expensive product will satisfy the best. In your experience, has this generally been true?

For all products we use a value equation. Price is important, but value is what we want to achieve. Value = Quality (Outcomes + Safety + Service) Cost

Should you first consult your laundry processor about how these items will be cared for?

We start with the clinical staff first, but right behind that is the laundry. We obtain information from the manufacturer regarding the products’ characteristics, thread count, or special coatings, and find out whether the manufacturer has laundering requirements. Once we have this information, we would talk with the laundry processor to address its ability to launder the items.

Why is that important?

It is part of the quality, service, and cost. Our laundry provides a service. If the item requires processing outside of the norm, this will impact its ability to provide service and potentially increase the cost.

Is storage a concern? Why or why not?

Yes, space is always limited. We consider where the product will be stored: warehouse or a store room near the users? How much stock do we keep to ensure we have clean product?

Can you discuss how you make decisions based on the demands of cost/quality/outcomes?

Our process includes developing an Award Matrix, making the decision more objective. The Award Matrix is two parts—one part includes the “non-financial” (quality, attributes, storage, etc.) and the second part is the financial (cost of product, cost of laundry, etc.). These are pulled into the Award Matrix.