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Applying effective strategies in OR and supply chain management

Publish Date: 3/28/2012

The AORN recommended practices (RP) for product selection provide recommendations for evaluating and selecting new products. Darin Prescott, MSN, MBA, RN, CNOR, CASC, and Joanne Nei, BSN, RN, CMRP, referenced the RPs several times in their discussion about “Effective Strategies: OR & Supply Chain Management.” “Your practice will drive what products you’re going to use,” Prescott said. Product selection is based on patient outcomes and overall patient satisfaction, “that’s really at the center of what we do,” Nei added.

Four components form the foundation of the product analysis and evaluation process—clinical, environmental, implementation and financial. Products eligible for evaluation should be considered against patient outcome needs, new knowledge or research, contractual obligations and clinician requests. Additionally, a product evaluation form may be used. The product evaluation form should be available to all staff members and include the name of the Product Value Analysis Committee (PVAC) member representative who may include specialty team leads, clinical nurse specialists, or an educator; required time frames and reasons for requesting the product, and input from the person requesting the evaluation to prioritize the four categories (eg, Clinical: safety).

A subgroup should review the product analysis request form, investigate the needed resources, identify stakeholders, evaluate the effect of the product on finances and contracts, and identify whether there are any alternatives. Next, the team should follow up with manufacturers for more information and samples, and communicate with the person who requested the product. “It’s important to document this whole process,” Nei said, because this information, including all of the research and the rationale used to make the product decision, could be useful in the future.

When evaluating products, start with the clinical criteria first. Decisions based on clinical criteria should be reviewed safety and health risk issues, quality improvement potential in patient outcomes, cost effectiveness, and overall quality of the product. “We need to make sure our product selection process is also evidence based,” Nei added. Examples of clinical criteria include regulatory compliance, cleaning requirements, equipment connection issues and separation of inserted medical products (eg, catheters). Scoring for all four categories is based on a scale of one to four. For example, in clinical evaluations, 1 may mean the product does not affect patient outcomes or staff safety, while 4 means it improves patient care, outcomes, or staff safety.

Prescott concluded the presentation by reviewing required staff competencies for any new product. These competencies should be collaboratively defined and employee-centered, and measure staff knowledge, skill, behavior and attitude.

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