value based procurement

Public procurement was established as a way of purchasing products that hospitals need. However, this one-dimensional view of procurement is changing very quickly. From humble beginnings as an obscure back-office function, I am pleased to say procurement is fast becoming a high-impact strategic partner for hospitals. What’s behind this shift? Traditionally, product price has been the key feature of a successful procurement process. A good price is important, but there are other elements to consider. The use of the most economically advantageous tender (MEAT) criteria offers scope to include quality and functionality of products and services. Of course, using criteria other than price increases the complexity of the tender, both for the customer as well as the supplier. So, is it worth it? At European Health Public Procurement Alliance (EHPPA), we believe the answer is ‘yes’. In my opinion focusing on price alone can obscure important value drivers. For instance, if you buy surgical gloves, and the focus is solely on price, you will get the lowest cost gloves. But is that a good deal for the hospital? It is not unreasonable to suggest that lower price means lower quality. If that means having to throw away gloves because they cannot be used, the cost of this should be part of the calculation. Using the MEAT criteria, quality can be calculated and incorporated into the decision on which glove to choose. Value-based procurement (VBP) goes one step further than MEAT. VBP is based on the idea that tenders should be evaluated based on what matters to patients. The introduction of VBP is a key priority of the EHPPA alliance. We would argue that this is also what matters to hospitals. This approach is rather difficult to apply if the starting point focuses on a particular product. VBP only works if...
VBP blog series
The essence of travelling, either by foot, train or plane, is replacing one's existing location for another more desired or needed one. But why do we do it? Sometimes it's the appeal of a new destination – perhaps a ski resort or a tropical island. On other occasions, the decision to move away is driven by a realisation that the current location is no longer sustainable. In healthcare, there is an emerging sense of urgency that it's time to move. You'll be familiar with the reasons: increasing demand for health care services, rising healthcare expenditure and unwanted outcome variations among healthcare provider organisations have put most European healthcare systems under pressure. I've been exploring the potential role of procurement in accelerating our journey to a better place. Traditionally, the focus of procurement was buying those products and services needed at the lowest price possible. Indeed, in some EU member states this is still common practise. However, with the transposition of the 2014 European public procurement directive into national law by all 28 EU member states, we now observe a trend of procurement slowly, but surely, selecting medtech products based on a consideration of both price and (product-) quality. Price as the sole factor influencing the buying process is a thing of the past; quality is taking its place. On average, 42% of medtech procurement processes included quality criteria in 2016. France, UK, Ireland and the Netherlands are leading the way with more than 80% of their awarded tenders based on quality versus cost. In addition, this value for money equation is legally the preferred awarding criterion in a limited number of EU member states already, such as the Netherlands and Finland. I see an even more encouraging trend: the application of pre-tender consultations, the use of competitive dialogue tender procedure...