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Archive Cost Justification 2017

Think Outside the Box to Pump Up Your Purchasing Power

Q&A with Thomas Lubotsky, BBA, MHA, FACHE, value-based expert and supply management mastermind.

Thomas Lubotsky, BBA, MHA, FACHE


Thomas Lubotsky, BBA, MHA, FACHE

How do you ensure purchases for the OR make sense?
We've set up a review committee comprised of a multidisciplinary group of physicians who look at new technology. They carefully consider a number of clinical and economic factors. Does it really bring additional value? How much does it cost and what will it take to add it? Is there an adequate substitute product that suffices today? The key element is an ongoing dialogue with physicians about linking products to clinical effectiveness, outcomes and safety. That's how we determine better value.

What improvements have you made to the process?
We've focused a lot on data. Our value-analysis program has contracted with a third-party company, which adds comprehensiveness to the information we're able to review. When we're considering a product, the company reviews all relevant articles in peer-reviewed journals and summarizes the clinical evidence. We've found that process to be incredibly efficient and helpful to our own product specialists, who bring this clinical insight to our physicians for review.

What mistakes do value-analysis committees continually make?
They don't drill down deep enough into product data. Take the time and make the effort to really understand a device's attributes and features. Be more critical when considering what you use today, and what additional value the proposed product brings to the table. The downstream impact of a technology can provide a beneficial impact on the full continuum of care. That's also really important to consider.

How has value-analysis changed in recent years?
It's not always the typical outcomes of care that matter most. Reductions in mortality and infection rates are of course important, but you also have to measure the impact products have on measures of care that matter to patients. Joint replacement patients want to know how fast they can return to work. There's an indirect cost there that needs to be included in product assessments.

What cost-justifying resources aren't used nearly enough?
I'm focusing very heavily on tapping into the expertise of select suppliers who engage and integrate with our health system because they bring a level of experience, intelligence and capability that we're not capitalizing on. I see great potential in cultivating relationships with suppliers that are truly interested in advancing safe, quality care around their products. Partnerships should continue to evolve with suppliers who have high clinical sensitivity. OSM

Mr. Lubotsky ( is the vice president of supply chain and clinical resource management at Advocate Health Care in Downers Grove, Ill.

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