What is value-based procurement (VBP)?

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Value-based procurement (VBP) is becoming increasingly important in the healthcare industry. It is an approach to purchasing products and services that focuses on the total value created by the product or service and its ability to meet the needs of the stakeholders involved, rather than just its price. VBP seeks to find suppliers for delivering value in terms of better outcomes for patients and a better overall experience. By taking this into account, VBP helps organizations make informed purchasing decisions that maximize the value they get from their investments.


So, is there a definition of value-based procurement? Looking at the literature, there are several definitions that share several key words and phrases but focus on different aspects. These are, among others:

  • Total value created
  • Patient experience
  • Long-term cost efficiencies
  • Patient centred approach
  • Improved quality
  • Total cost of acquisition

“Making deliberate choices on what products and services are needed to provide best-in-class care at an affordable cost through a framework that guides the review and decision-making processes by analyzing the cost and clinical outcomes expected from the use of that product or equipment in the care of patients”

As cited by the authors of a recent publication [1], we would also like to refer to the definition of Krantz et al. [2] mentioned therein, as it seems to be quite comprehensive and accurate.

Blood collection related aspects

When it comes to blood collection, depending on the stakeholder, there are several factors to consider when using a value-based procurement approach before selecting a supplier of products and services. Some of these are summarized below. For more details, please take a look at the other articles in this blog.

1. Patient

The patient’s overall experience is critical for both the patient and the organization. If the patient is diagnosed and treated correctly, in a timely and professional manner, the patient will be satisfied. This in turn will eventually lead to good customer ratings and positive feedback for the hospital.

Therefore, safe, high-quality products that deliver reproducible results and well-trained blood collection staff are key.

2. Nurses / Blood collection staff

Staff who collect blood from patients on a daily basis must be professionally trained in the use of the various devices. They need a profound knowledge of preanalytics and must understand the close relationship between the individual patient, the selection of the suitable device (combination), the correct blood collection procedure, its potential complications and the influence of all these factors on the subsequent analytical stage.

Therefore, professional training by the supplier of products and services must be considered, as well as safe, reliable devices and excellent usability. Additionally, a complete portfolio of products must be available to enable blood collection staff to select the appropriate device for each patient and clinical condition.

3. Laboratory staff

The laboratory relies on the quality of the samples it receives to produce accurate analysis results. High-quality samples can only reach the laboratory if the previous preanalytical steps have been carried out correctly. This includes not only proper blood collection, but also adequate sample storage and transport to the laboratory.

Critical factors to consider include product quality, trained blood collection staff, proper transport procedures, and automated processing options.

4. Purchaser

Typical factors to consider, besides price, are the product quality, patient and user safety, as well as the supplier’s capacity and supply chain. The economic consequences of needlestick injuries resulting from the misuse of products or the use of unsafe devices can be significant. Additionally, the required storage space and packaging/disposal volume and associated costs can influence a decision.

Closely related is the aspect of sustainability of the products and of the supplier’s approach to it. More and more organizations and hospitals have to meet sustainability goals, which are often linked to the sustainability efforts of the supplier.

5. Supplier services

Pre-sales and after-sales service, personal contact, response times, training (online and on-site), the supplier’s value propositions, as well as many other aspects must be considered when making a value-based procurement decision.

How to make a value-based procurement decision!

The goal is to optimize the overall outcome/costs ratio. In other words, maximizing value for money. In real life, this can be difficult because many aspects of different stakeholders must be considered, evaluated, weighted, and scored to enable an informed purchasing decision.

Getting all this information in a structured way requires an organizational framework and process. Avoid short-term gains from low prices only. Consider the long-term benefits of increased patient and user satisfaction paired with the benefits of a trustworthy business partner, reliable supply, additional services of training and technical support etc.

Examine the possible hidden costs behind a product acquisition, which include costs associated with poor device quality or misuse due to lack of proper training.

Never forget: Price is not the same as costs.

[1] Rahmani, K., Karimi, S., Rezayatmand, R., & Raeisi, A. R. (2021). Value-Based procurement for medical devices: A scoping review. Medical Journal of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 35(1), 1–9. https://doi.org/10.47176/MJIRI.35.134

[2] Krantz, H., Strain, B., & Torzewski, J. (2017). Medical device innovation and the value analysis process. Surgery, 162(3), 471–476. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.SURG.2017.04.006

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