October 5, 2014 | By Ron Shinkman
The use of better supply management for medical devices can significantly reduce costs at the hospital level, according to a new study in the American Journal of Managed Care.
The study analyzed nearly 9,800 patients treated at 10 hospitals in a single metropolitan area between 2008 and 2010 for joint replacement, spine fusion or cardiac rhythm management. It found costs per procedure could drop by 14.5 percent for joint replacement, 18.8 percent for spine fusion and 29.1 percent for cardiac rhythm management with better device purchasing.
The authors of the study focused on those three procedures because they are typically high-volume and high-margin procedures for hospitals. Those three areas represented nearly 5 percent of the revenue for the hospitals studied. Spinal fusion tends to be such a cash cow for hospitals that they are sometimes the nexus of healthcare fraud. And joint replacement has been a successful target for payers focused on reference pricing.