Medical device and other innovative technology advancements hold great promise to improve clinical outcomes. Yet, with an increasing focus on delivering greater value, supply chain leaders and clinicians need to make informed purchasing decisions. Beyond understanding a new technology’s clinical benefits, they need to assess a host of other factors, including cost, reimbursement and contract compliance.

But keeping abreast of new innovations and technologies can be a daunting undertaking for busy service line and supply chain professionals.

That’s why Vizient recently launched a redesign of its Tech Watch reports, which are produced semi-annually for medical devices, pediatrics and diagnostic imaging, and are designed to break information down into understandable and relevant content. The new format debuted in February with the publication of the Medical Device report, followed by the Pediatrics report released in June. Diagnostic Imaging will be published in the fall.

Seeing the full picture

Tech Watch is a resource that service line and supply chain professionals can use when talking with physicians and clinicians about medical products and technologies. The information helps foster dialogue that facilitates collaboration on the use of novel technologies and medical devices, clinical benefits and cost.

“From a clinical perspective, everybody recognizes the potential value of new technology. It may present an opportunity for improved patient care and clinical outcomes,” said Tami Maurer, associate vice president, contract and program services. “But understanding the full impact of new technology from the business side of health care is complex.” Maurer added that stakeholders must understand how the new technology impacts the cost of procedures as well as considerations for how reimbursement is affected.

Contract compliance is another important piece of the puzzle. “If members decide to purchase new technology, those purchases may effect compliance requirements in existing agreements which can impact prices,” said Maurer. “Our goal is to help members understand how adopting a new device or technology impacts product mix and cost to ensure they see the full picture.”

By members, for members

Member input is the cornerstone of many initiatives and processes at Vizient and Tech Watch reports are no exception. Vizient’s member advisory councils provide valuable input to the reports. In addition to current industry trends, Vizient’s consulting teams also share feedback and pain points from members that help inform Tech Watch content.

The current issue on medical devices, for example, includes articles on noninvasive heart valve replacement, an ischemic stroke update, the current state of value-based care, and the pros and cons of orthopedic robots. It also includes an article on interventional paclitaxel usage for peripheral arterial disease (PAD), which stemmed from a statement by the Food and Drug Administration. The statement warned physicians to temporarily halt the use of paclitaxel-coated devices because of a potential late mortality risk associated with its use for treating PAD. Tech Watch addressed the topic and its broad impact across health care, including suppliers and treatment options.

The recently published issue on pediatrics delivers the latest information on innovative pediatric technologies and offers insight into new pharmaceuticals and indications. The report also focuses on COVID-19 and its impact on children and pregnant women as well as lung-protective technologies for the OR. The upcoming issue on diagnostic imaging will include articles on trending topics in precision medicine and magnetic resonance technology.

Further, the new reports go beyond focusing solely on technological innovation itself. Articles may highlight a variety of issues surrounding the innovation, such as barriers to adoption, program set-up and staffing considerations. Where applicable, the reports also include consideration of the shift in the medical device space that is occurring with many procedures moving to the outpatient setting, and how adopting the technology may impact that aspect of clinical practice.

To access any of the Tech Watch reports, click here.  

Published: July 17, 2020