When management asks for your opinion on devices your hospital is considering purchasing, they are giving you an opportunity to show the range of your knowledge and the quality of the services that you are prepared to provide. When someone gives you this opportunity, do not simply respond with your opinion on the costs of maintenance or your ability to perform repairs, take the time to understand the things management cares about and tailor your response to their concerns.
Examples of senior management’s concerns are; are they getting good value for their money, is this the latest version of this product or is it likely to be obsolete in a few years and can the device be easily integrated into the hospital’s network? Other concerns might be; is the manufacturer financially sound and will they be able to support the product with upgrades and replacement parts well into the future? They may also be concerned with knowing any special installation costs and the projected lifetime of the device. They need to know if the device will bring any improvements in patient outcomes, quality, or employee productivity. They also should care if it is easy for people to learn to use the device and if the company has a good record of accomplishment for training people in its proper use. One of the most important questions any hospital needs to ask is if there have been any major incidents where the device may have caused patients harm, or if any employees have suffered from using it.
If you can take the time to tailor your responses to answer these types of questions, you are likely to be considered a valuable part of any equipment acquisition team and you will be called on more often in the future for your opinion. Getting answers to the kinds of device issues that senior management may care about will require extra effort on your behalf, but the payback in terms of your value to your institution is well worth the effort. There are a number of resources available that you can use to find answers. If, for example, you are fortunate enough to have access to reports generated by organizations like ECRI, or MD Buyline, you will find a wealth of useful information from product evaluations, technical specifications, user satisfaction ratings and much more that you can use to create an objective report. If the manufacturer of the device is a publicly held company, they will have product announcements, press releases and annual reports available on their web site. The annual report will provide you with sales performance and financial data as well as glimpse into the company’s present and future products and their marketing plans. You will also find a number of resources available on the internet and in the FDA’s Maude Database.
The key is to focus your response on management’s needs and not yours. Also, whenever possible, do not inject your personal biases into any reports. Be sure to be analytical and objective. Always, support your information with source data and numbers. This way, you will become the “Go to” person in your hospital when people need equipment information.
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