Inside HSCA Guest Blogger Lori Pilla Discusses Recent Study on Implantable Device Costs

Editor’s Note: A recent study led by Dr. Kanu Okike and published in Health Affairs found that very few orthopedic surgeons are able to correctly estimate the price of implantable devices. Doctors surveyed in the study were only able to accurately estimate these costs between 17 and 21 percent of the time. Lori Pilla, Vice President of Clinical Advantage and Supply Chain Optimization for Amerinet, shared her thoughts on the study and its implications for healthcare organizations with Inside HSCA.

A very interesting study published recently in Health Affairs touches on the reality of implant utilization and why there remains a gap overall in relation to actual costs being paid by hospitals across the country. For years there has been a significant variance in the knowledge amongst surgeon groups about the total expense implants place on hospital budgets. It is very refreshing to see that at least the majority of the group actually participated in the survey and the fact that 21% actually knew the costs is progress. It is not a surprise that the delta across the estimates is so variant against what the cost actually is, of those products they use every day.

On the other side, this article validates once again the lack of transparency in pricing on vendors like products used in different organizations as pointed out by the Government Accountability Office in 2012. As reimbursements continue to decrease, this point will be of focus as organizations bear the strain of increased implant costs.

Finally, as organizations work to engage their physicians in helping with cost containment, it will be important to:

·      Stress the lack of variance in quality outcomes across like products made by multiple suppliers
·      Educate the physicians, and drive this education through both outcomes data and financials
·      Finally, incentivize those physicians, who are early adopters in participating in cost containment through equipment and other desired service line products.

-       Lori Pilla, RN, BSB/M, MBA, Vice President of Clinical Advantage and Supply Chain Optimization, Amerinet.