A federal mandate to use unique device identifiers offers an opportunity to reduce the risk of patients being harmed by products. It also creates a global database where hospitals can better track the high-value items. But the UDI system, which is being implemented over the next four years by the Food and Drug Administration, means a lot of changes, especially for the supply-chain industry.
Those challenges will be a major focus next week at the Association for Healthcare Resource & Materials Management conference in San Diego. The event attracts more than 1,000 attendees from hospitals, group purchasing organizations and suppliers to discuss trends in supply chain and innovative best practices. In attendance also are more than 200 exhibitors, including Charlotte, N.C.-based Premier, New York-based Pfizer and Dublin-based Medtronic.
Likely to be a talking point among them was last week's news that the heads of the CMS and the FDA asked the insurance industry to include UDIs on the next universal health insurance claims form. The goal is to gain population-level insights from UDI data. One of the AHRMM talks, led by Peter Fiorentino of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, will focus on how providers can use machine-reading technology such as radio-frequency identification, or RFID, to quickly capture devices in their system.
The use of data, cost transparency, technology and how health system supply-chain professionals are weathering major changes in the industry will all be discussed at the conference.