5 tips & tricks for successful medical product evaluations and conversions

February 2017

Making a product change within your facility can seem daunting. From trialing the product, to gathering feedback and implementing the conversion – there are many steps along the way and many people to include.

RoseMarie Squeo, RN, BSN, MA, a Senior Consultant of Clinical Operations at Cardinal Health, draws from over 20 years of OR Nurse Manager experience to provide five tips and tricks for anyone leading a product evaluation and conversion.

1. Set well-defined objectives and goals for the product evaluation

Defining the objectives and goals that you are working towards will help your evaluation to stay on track and on time. Not clearly defining this at the beginning is one of the quickest ways to derail a product change. Take the time up front to plan. And, don’t forget to plan for implementation upon a successful evaluation too. Lay out the full scope – from evaluation to implementation – and work towards these predetermined objectives and goals.

What does success look like?
What are you trying to achieve?
Who do you need to involve?

2. Clearly communicate to all stakeholders involved

It’s not enough to simply define objective and goals, you need to clearly communicate these to all stakeholders involved. Ensure everyone feels informed and a part of the process. Keep all stakeholders – from nurses to doctors to other supporting staff – up-to-date on the plan, timing and outcome of the evaluation. By communicating early and often you can ensure everyone is up to speed.

3. Identify a clinical champion

Do you have someone on staff that feels passionately about the product change being proposed? Whether the change is required, or a change made to improve efficiency, safety or address other clinical concerns, having a clinical champion that can work with his or her peers and influence staff from within will help to ensure a smooth adoption process.  

RoseMarie shared: “One other tip that I used as a manager when preparing for a trial was to engage a staff member that was a change resister to be part of the project. This way, I got them onboard and they became a positive force to help to champion the change.”

4. Limit the number of vendors you bring in

Do your research ahead of time and only bring in the best vendors that you are serious about considering. Running too many back-to-back product evaluations can be strenuous for your staff and clinicians involved. Multiple evaluations can hamper the excitement that may come from trialing a new product and increase fatigue and confusion amongst those trialing the products.

5. Educate, educate, educate!

If you are considering a change that will impact clinical practice, have education lined up for your staff. This could be educational materials to read, sessions to attend or on-demand online trainings. If your facility understands the reasons behind the change – why it is better for patient and staff safety for example – the change will happen more smoothly. Be sure to choose a product vendor that can help to meet your education needs by offering educational content, courses and videos.

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