Vital Signs Blog

Hospitals digging deep to cut costs

It shouldn't be a surprise that one of the major areas of focus at a conference this week for hospital materials managers and supply chain executives was reducing the costs of medical supplies.

But what was notable at this year's annual meeting for the Association for Healthcare Resource & Materials Management in Orlando, Fla., was how far down hospitals are drilling to reduce costs. Some are starting initiatives to reduce not just the cost of surgical implants but also the costs of drugs and less expensive instruments used in these operations.

During one session, HCA executives talked about the variation associated with spine surgeries and how that can lead to higher overall costs for procedures. They noted that 84% of spine procedures use an osteobiologic, a drug that helps heal fractures and bone defects. As the HCA supply chain team searched for ways to reduce costs, it found little clinical data available to compare the effectiveness of various osteobiologic drug products, which are manufactured by about 400 companies.

So HCA started a registry to measure patient outcomes, including patients receiving osteobiologics. Surgeons who participated in best-practice committees that examined the registry data reported that osteobiologic drug spending decreased by 32% in six months, while non-participating surgeons saw spending on osteobiologics go up by 27%.

Any other hospitals taking a look at the costs associated with osteobiologics?

Follow Jaimy Lee on Twitter: @MHjlee



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