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Q&A: Dee Donatelli - The Importance of Value Analysis

February 3, 2019

Interviewed By: Christina Hall

We’ve known Dee Donatelli for many years.  She is a no nonsense professional with a passion for whatever she puts her mind to. With a broad background as a clinician and Supply Chain professional, she has put together a program for suppliers that is extremely timely.


The Value Analysis Apex is a hands on interactive approach to engaging Value Analysis-the people and the process. It is the culmination of Dee’s background that can help any supplier improve their approach and results with IDNs. Dee was kind enough to conduct a webinar to our clients showing a snapshot of why Value Analysis is important.  As providers continue to consolidate and decisions are being made corporately, being able to understand the process can help suppliers advance their value quicker.  Selling on the floors and trying to circumvent the system will only delay and sometimes ruin chances for success.  I would encourage you to consider attending Dee’s program in March.  It’s a very unique approach.

– Ken Murawski, CEO Healthcare Links

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember; involve me and I learn.”
Ben Franklin

Here is an interview conducted by our own Christina Hall…

We had the pleasure to speak with Dee Donatelli from Dee Donatelli Consulting about the importance of value analysis in the healthcare system. Dee is a former Registered Nurse with a rich background in Hospital administration, supply chain and consulting. We got a lot of really good insights from her about the current state of value analysis and how value analysis will impact the future of healthcare, specifically as it relates to suppliers.

Take a look: 


Christina: Thanks for joining me today, I look forward to our conversation on value analysis. Before we dive in can you tell me a little about yourself and what you are currently up to?


Dee: Sure, I am a Registered Nurse by training and worked in a hospital organization as a chief nurse and in cardiology for a number of years before I became involved in supply chain. I first got involved through the product standardization process, which then led me to transferring into a supply chain role at the largest medical center in Kansas. There I became the Purchasing Manager, and later the Director of Supply Chain.


I have been the voice of clinical supply chain management for a number of years, specifically very dedicated to the process of value analysis.


I left the hospital and went into consulting, working predominantly for some large consulting firms as well as Owens & Minor, creating their clinical consulting division and later worked  for Hayes Incorporated, which is an evidence based company.

I’ve been blending clinical and supply chain throughout the course of my career, and I’m very dedicated to the mission that I believe really is the foundation upon success and that is the value analysis process.


Christina: Who is your ideal client right now?


Dee: I did consulting work both with providers and with suppliers. I have recently gone to work for a company called TractManager in the role of the Director of Value Analysis consulting. In both of those,I am dedicated to helping organization as well as suppliers better understand the providers side of the market, and enable the value analysis process.


Christina: In your opinion, can suppliers benefit by working through value analysis?


Dee: I believe that the customer is the value analysis professional in Hospitals. The reason that I say that is, with the growing complexity, the mergers and acquisitions of our hospital systems across the country, the access that suppliers have to the supply chain department or the clinical providers themselves is becoming more and more limited. Healthcare systems are requiring suppliers to be credentialed and go through a lot of hoops to get an appointment.


Value analysis is so important for suppliers to understand the process by which hospitals and large IDNs are making decisions. More importantly, when you get that one and done opportunity, a window to go in and make a huge impression, how do you maximize that time? How do you differentiate your company, your product, your technology in a way that will grab the consumer, the customer, and help you have a quicker speed to value, and more importantly for suppliers, speed to close a deal.


Christina: Do you think it’s still worth the effort for a supplier to approach supply chain?


Dee: I believe suppliers can still approach supply chain, but they need to be really on their game. You need to understand how you differentiate your product and the value that your technology brings to the market above the value of the competition. Honestly one of the things that’s a real passion of mine is, I believe that there’s tremendous value in emerging and new technology that often times doesn’t get into the Hospital’s periphery, because they’re either not on a GPO contract or they’re not a company that we’re perhaps familiar with, they don’t have a big brand. I think that that’s a huge travesty and I think that by understanding and using the value analysis professional as an entry point into the organization helps you differentiate, professionalize and increase your potential opportunity.

Christina: Does the process change for the supplier if they are approaching value analysis vs supply chain?


Dee: The first consideration of a pitch to supply chain is the price point. Value analysis is all about quality or value. You have to promote it in a way that differentiates you from your competitor above and beyond the price point. The price point is important, but for value analysis professional it is absolutely secondary.

Christina: What do you think a supplier can do when it comes to approaching a hospital, either through a supply chain or a value analysis? How can they best be prepared?

Dee: Leading with evidence. What evidence do you have that differentiates your technology from that of your competitor? Or if you’re a new or emerging technology, how does that technology address the quadruple aim? The quadruple aim is the patient outcome, the cost, the total quality and outcomes of a product. We had been working in the triple lane, which is the cost, quality and outcomes. Today, we’re adding a quadruple aim, which really is clinician satisfaction.

I think that’s another point that suppliers need to address. How is your product easier, more standardized, more applicable to the use of the clinician, doctor, nurse, tech, that contributes substantially to improved outcomes for the patients we serve.

Christina: Do you think approaching value analysis first for all types of products or services is beneficial?  Say for instance you are an IT or an emerging tech company, as you mentioned, do you go to value analysis first before the IT department?


Dee: I believe strongly that you should  approach tvalue analysis first in absolutely everything. Any purchased services, be that IT, pharmaceuticals, bandaids or an orthopedic implant. If you follow the process of value analysis and you differentiate your product in the beginning by the value that it provides, the evidence that you have to support that, then that takes on a different kind of conversation.

As soon as you begin to provide the clinical benefit, the value, then the cost is secondary. It still remains part of the conversation, but it is not as important.

If you use a value analysis process, then you are sure that you have a standardized, transparent and effective approach to making decisions. You’re not just making subjective decisions because the doctor wants it or the nurse likes it, or it’s cheaper. You’re making a decision considering multiple decision points around not only the cost, but more importantly the quality and the outcomes that the technology can provide.

Every dollar that a hospital spends, every decision that a hospital makes, every contract that a hospital signs should run through a value analysis systematic and uniform decision making process.

Christina: Does value analysis want to be that entry point?

Dee: That’s why it’s so important that you have a repeatable process that in the very beginning puts parameters or qualifiers around the request, because you are absolutely right, if you’re doing value analysis beyond what I call maturity level one, which is just demand driven, and there are hospitals that are still functioning that way. A Doctor wants something and they say we’re going to put it through our value analysis committee, but nobody ever really questions anything a Doctor wants. That’s not really value analysis.

Christina: If there’s only a small percentage of hospitals or health systems that implement value analysis the right way is it still worth it for a supplier to use value analysis as an entry point regardless?

Dee: If you look at a maturity curve of a level one being a decision driven process, level two being more of a standardized process, level three being more of a utilization management. Then when you get into a more sophisticated level four and level five, you’re really getting into a more population health management. Your doctors are driving clinical effectiveness.

On those higher levels, those are the more mature, and these are the bigger IDNs because they’re being forced to do this. The hospitals that suppliers have to get a contract with to survive are in a level two or level three maturity in the value analysis process. Thus, you diminish your opportunity as a supplier if you do not understand and operate within the tenets of value analysis.

Christina: How many suppliers do you think today that are selling to a hospital or an IDN, understand that?

Dee: I think more and more get it, but I don’t think very many understand how to do it. How do I present or provide the value of my company to a hospital through the value analysis process? That was why the Value Analysis Apex was born, because suppliers said to me all summer when I worked with them, this is killer stuff. If I would have understood this better, it may have even changed the prototype of how I designed my product, let alone how I’m going in and presenting and trying to sell my product differently.

Christina: How is this changing the role of value analysis?

Dee: That’s why you are seeing value analysis growing. It’s one of the areas within the hospital support departments that is growing at a very rapid pace. An example would be a large health system that has a corporate office. They have 8 value analysis coordinators among their regions of hospitals, of which there’s over 50. They have 20 more value analysis coordinators sitting at the hospital levels out in their regions. So they have over 30 people working in value analysis on a full-time basis.

The reason why is because value analysis is no longer sitting in the basement, but rather they’re sitting in clinical effectiveness committee meetings. As we standardize care, we are also standardizing products. That becomes the new role of the value analysis coordinator is to collectively connect the standardization of practice with the standardization of products.

Christina: Is there anything else that you think would be helpful that we haven’t discussed that you would like to share?

Dee: The vision of the value analysis Apex through the Association of Healthcare Value Analysis Professionals (AHVAP)  is to educate the healthcare community on the best and leading practice and value analysis. So it was my dream to come up with a value analysis Apex to help promote that education in the marketplace specifically to the supplier community. What I’d like to emphasize is that in my vision this is not going to be your traditional school house, listen to a talking head, death by PowerPoint. The Value Analysis Apex is intended to be highly interactive, very strategic. There’s not going to be PowerPoints. There’s going to be pre-reads. There’s going to be professionals that will be there to interact in a very one on one environment to provide tips, tools and techniques on how to not only understand value analysis, but how to work as a supplier more effectively.

The goal of this really is for our patients. It’s to provide better outcomes for our patients. So for those companies that are committed to that mission, this is the perfect venue for them to come and to learn and understand so that we can improve quality, improve outcomes while we lower the overall cost of healthcare today.

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