By Erin Cristales, Vizient
"Our members are really trying to learn what makes these innovative offerings unlike anything else on the market. If you listen to the conversations that are occurring, they're looking to pinpoint what makes a particular device or service a differentiator and what will their patients get from it?" — Olya Carter, Vizient senior clinical manager
If there's a name you'd least expect to hear at Vizient's Innovative Technology Exchange, "Wayne Gretzky" might well be it.
And yet, even at an event fully focused on healthcare, The Great One was indeed invoked — specifically his oft-quoted mantra of skating "to where the puck is going to be, not where it's been." For suppliers, the sentiment proves just as relevant in retail as in the rink. Amid a landscape that's ceaselessly transforming, this was no venue for vendors with reactive philosophies.
"We are absolutely trying to predict where computerized tomography (CT) is headed next," said Michael McKeogh, Midwest area VP at Siemens Healthineers, who at the Exchange showcased a photon-counting CT scanner that is designed to provide data at high spatial resolution and reduce radiation exposure. "We're really proud that we've looked at where the puck is going in an effort to meet providers' needs and better patient outcomes."
Each year, Vizient's Innovative Technology Exchange offers selected suppliers the unique opportunity to demonstrate their technologies to supply chain and clinical leaders from Vizient's member hospitals, as well as subject matter experts who serve on discipline-specific Vizient member councils. The event, which this year took place Oct. 17 at the Renaissance Dallas Hotel, is part of a process that can earn candidates a Vizient Innovative Technology contract or designation.
The Exchange also is a chance for deeper, more hands-on interaction, said Olya Carter, Vizient senior clinical manager, who spearheads the event. From actually drilling a bone to examining wound dressings and IV pumps, providers can meet, greet and entreat suppliers to focus on the challenges that have risen to the top of their health system's to-solve list.
"Our members are really trying to learn what makes these innovative offerings unlike anything else on the market," Carter said. "If you listen to the conversations that are occurring, they're looking to pinpoint what makes a particular device or service a differentiator and what will their patients get from it?"
At the 2022 Exchange, more than 50 suppliers displayed 70 technologies that covered categories including cardiovascular, orthopedics, pediatrics, med/surg, capital, facilities and construction, and lab. Multiple respiratory products were on display, particularly ventilators that were more compact and mobile than previous iterations. There also were several innovations in wound care, remote monitoring, and artificial intelligence and automation.
For instance, AI drives Mpirik's software focused on automated identification of cardiac patients at risk with no follow-up, which is accomplished through integration with hospitals' EMR systems. Vizient this summer announced a strategic partnership with Mpirik to expand access to patient assessment and clinical programs that improve care and help address health equity with the use of technology such as AI.
"AI is here to augment physicians, not replace them," said Carol Koshick, manager, business development at Mpirik. "That augmentation can help ensure better care for high-risk patients."
Of course, improving patient outcomes despite margin pressures and supply constraints was top of mind for the providers in attendance, who look to suppliers not just for innovation but also expanded value proposition. Technologies that can, for example, save time and labor are particularly desirable considering recent workforce shortages and the increased demands on frontline employees.
"Here, you're able to delve into questions with suppliers regarding what they do and how and why they do it in a way you can't typically get into on a virtual call," said Jeff Hall, director, supply chain solutions, at Intermountain Health. "It's helpful to dive deeper into their capabilities and how that connects with the challenges we're trying to address as a healthcare organization. This really is a great event."
Check out a slideshow from the event: