The nation's 5,400 short-term acute-care hospitals spent a record $19.3 billion on medical-surgical supplies in 1993, according to a report released last week.
Although higher in total dollar volume than in years past, hospital purchases grew more slowly-4% above 1992's volume. In 1992, the hospitals bought $18.6 billion in medical-surgical supplies, a 9% increase over the previous year, IMS America said.
The Plymouth Meeting, Pa.-based firm tracks hospital spending on drugs and supplies. Its projections of final figures for spending on medical-surgical supplies reflect monthly surveys of 350 hospitals.
Current data do not reveal whether hospitals are buying more supplies or the prices are simply going up. Data for unit purchases of goods were not available. However, past results of the same study have shown that hospitals' unit purchases grow very little year to year.
Declining lengths of stay and lower occupancy rates might have limited consumption of medical-surgical supplies last year. Hospital efforts to keep smaller inventories and to cut waste also might have held down use of supplies.
Meanwhile, many hospitals and purchasing groups are trying to leverage lower prices by promising vendors more market share. Many vendors are caught in price wars with competitors.