McLaren Health Care Corp. is the latest health system to take an ownership stake in SharedClarity, a joint venture that pairs UnitedHealthcare's claims data with clinical data, medical studies and physician input to improve purchasing decisions for high-priced medical devices.
McLaren, a Flint, Mich.-based health system that operates 10 hospitals, joins Advocate Health Care, Baylor Scott & White Health, and Dignity Health as owners of SharedClarity. The Phoenix-based venture, which Dignity Health and UnitedHealthcare formed in 2012, launched in April of last year.
Amid declining reimbursement and a proliferation of new payment models that incentivize providers to reduce costs, hospitals are evaluating what they spend on medical and surgical supplies, which usually make up a hospital's largest expense after labor.
High-priced devices, such as hip implants and drug-eluting stents, make up a significant portion of supply spending, but little data exists that allows hospitals to compare the costs and outcomes of these devices. Factors such as gag clauses that limit what pricing information hospitals can share about devices they purchase and physicians' longstanding relationships with manufacturers and particular products are additional barriers for hospitals seeking to reduce costs of pricey physician preference items.