For hospital administrators, the process of procuring surgical implants and tools and making sure they are within budget can be complex. Medical-device representatives talk to surgeons about what they'll be bringing to a surgery. But administrators are often in the dark about what tools were actually used during a procedure.
If administrators find out after a surgery that a tool or device used was off-contract or more expensive than anticipated, the hospital then has to haggle with the vendor over price. This takes time and slows the payment process.
“It is a constant problem trying to reconcile all that stuff,” said Adam Higman, vice president at Soyring Consulting, a St. Petersburg, Fla.-based healthcare consulting firm. “Depending on the institution and the relationship with the surgeons and the representatives, who takes the fall (for the charges) can be variable.”
Responding to this confusing situation, Amin Rahme founded Surgery Exchange to hold device sales representatives accountable for what they bring to a surgery so that any off-contract items can be approved ahead of time. Surgery Exchange's software requires them to pre-register all items with administrators, and allows surgical staff to record which tools and implants they use during surgery.
Those items then can be reviewed, and if necessary, analyzed by contract compliance administrators before a purchase order is approved and sent through the platform. Compliance staff members are kept in the loop about potential supply changes and off-contract requests throughout the process, and are able to discuss any discrepancies with vendors.
Sales representatives often bring nearly $100,000 worth of devices to a surgery, but often use only a few thousand dollars' worth of those products because surgeons don't often know what sizes or components they'll need until they open a patient up, Rahme said.
“Sometimes the surgery requires things that weren't planned before. That's OK,” he said. “But with our software, there are no surprises.”