Clinical effectiveness value analysis: Cross-functional collaboration

Novative ideas come from engaged employees

By participating in the Novative Ideas Challenge, employees can help guide our organization with ideas for improving patient care, quality and efficiency, and saving costs. The ideas employees generate help Norton Healthcare improve patient care and invest more in our workforce, facilities and staff.


Some Novative ideas include:

  • Changes to courier services, resulting in a savings of $75,000
  • Building a better process to ensure patients are in the right level of care, improving patient experiences and outcomes while also generating $1.1 million
  • Moving an isolation gown collection bag from one cart to another, resulting in a savings of nearly $100,000


The Novative Ideas program was powered by a response on an Employee Engagement Survey. Ideas don’t have to be complex; sometimes the simplest things have the greatest impact.


Providing our patients with the best care possible in a cost-efficient manner defines value-based care. To achieve this, we must have effective processes in place and use the proper supplies and products throughout the care process. Value analysis is a systematic process that helps Norton Healthcare select products that provide the most value for our patients and clinicians. Beginning in 2014, a multidisciplinary team began looking at our processes within the supply chain teams to enhance our value analysis. In the new health care continuum, Norton Healthcare recognizes the need for an improved value analysis process that ensures strong nursing and allied health representation and engagement, and leverages and uses evidenced-based literature. This ensures excellent decision-making, reliable measurement systems and monitoring of products to increase functionality and value. A crossfunctional team has used the Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control model, our problem-solving tool, to collaborate, establish and standardize a new process. This process helps us choose the right products, supplies and vendors. Value-based care creates an alignment and collaboration between Nursing and Materiel Management that is critical to the health care industry’s ever-changing environment.

Three new value analysis teams in surgery, patient care, and infant and child care have been established to support the new process. Additional groups will be created depending on specific product categories. Each group includes a clinical advanced practice nurse and a materiel management expert, who will lead a group of multidisciplinary care providers under the direction of the chief nursing officers and the vice president of Materiel Management. Contract pricing, inventory utilization, inventory management and patient outcomes are some of the key metrics to be measured by these teams.


With the evolving nature of the health care market, this proactive, common-sense approach to product and vendor management is imperative. Obtaining supply items at the best price to support the best clinical outcomes for our patients is an excellent example of value. Having nurses at the forefront of this initiative is integral to the success of value analysis.


Norton Healthcare Doctor of Nursing Practice students present to clinical leaders

In the summer of 2015, 24 Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) students presented their final project ideas to Norton Healthcare leaders. The students are part of Norton Healthcare’s first cohort for a three-year program offered through the University of Kentucky, Lexington. The program allows nurses with a bachelor’s degree in nursing to earn a doctorate in nursing practice and certification as an advanced practice registered nurse.


The students’ final project is a scholarly demonstration of what they learned through their course work and experience, and how they applied it to a specific idea. The students in the quality and patient safety class taught by Michelle Pendleton, R.N., director of Patient Care Services, and Nora Warshawsky, Ph.D., R.N., professor at the University of Kentucky, began developing their capstone ideas.


“The students were so excited about their project ideas,” Pendleton said. “The poster presentation was an excellent opportunity for students to get feedback on their ideas from leaders.”


The posters illustrated high-level overviews of the 24 quality improvement projects that students will continue to develop and implement within the organization. Various Norton Healthcare leaders walked through the presentation, offering tips and ideas to strengthen the final capstone projects and glean innovative ways to impact patient care. Projects focused on ideas such as preventing heart failure readmission, strategies to address obesity in children and ways to capture meaningful use.


“I was so impressed with the innovative projects generated by the students, and they will all have a significant impact on improving outcomes for our patients and their families,” said Cis Gruebbel, R.N., vice president of pediatric operations and chief nursing officer, Kosair Children’s Hospital.

The posters were presented in a gallery-walk setting where leaders could view the posters and provide much-appreciated feedback and recommendations. This dialogue will help students strengthen their final capstone projects and provide innovative ways to have an impact on patient care.

The DNP degree concentrates on eight essentials for high-quality patient care, including research use for improved care delivery, patient outcomes and clinical systems management. With a DNP, these students will demonstrate their knowledge through evidence-based improved patient outcomes, leadership, economics, policy knowledge and skills, as well as the highest-possible level of scientific knowledge and practice expertise.


Doctor of Nursing Practice Eight Essentials

  1. Scientific underpinnings for practice
  2. Organizational and systems leadership for quality improvement and systems thinking
  3. Clinical scholarship and analytical methods for evidence-based practice
  4. Information systems/technology and patient care technology for the improvement and transformation of health care
  5. Health care policy for advocacy in health care
  6. Interprofessional collaboration for improving patient and population health outcomes
  7. Clinical prevention and population health for improving the nation’s health
  8. Advanced nursing practice




1. American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Position statement: The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice. American Association of Colleges of Nursing. 2004.