Health care manufacturers are constantly evaluating current products for enhancement opportunities while also bringing forth innovations that will grow their share of the market. Providers – who are tasked with determining if a new (and often more expensive) technology measurably improves patient outcomes – most acutely feel this constant product push.

Many hospitals have created a team or committee to make these determinations. Each hospital operates a bit differently in regard to their committee structure, what they call them and who comprises them. Some of the common examples are Value Analysis Committee, Technology Assessment Committee or Capital Equipment Committee—the commonality is that each focuses on making supply and equipment decisions for the hospital or clinic. And it’s that committee that is best served by Vizient’s TechFlash report.

The TechFlash report has been a valued resource for academic medical centers (AMC) since its development more than 20 years ago by University HealthSystem Consortium. Now the reports are available for all Vizient members. 

The author of TechFlash is Joe Cummings, senior associate, technology assessment at Vizient. “My approach has always been that hospitals should be focused on buying outcomes, rather than devices, for their patients,” Cummings said. “Given the current reimbursement environment, which is heavily focused on value-based care, bringing in products that improve outcomes is more important than ever.”

TechFlash reports are value analysis gold
Presented in an eight to 10-page detailed report, TechFlash reports offer a concise summary of the available clinical evidence for a specific product or technology (independent of any potential contractual status). They also include background information on the technology’s significance, current practices and alternatives, patient selection criteria and financial details. Cummings publishes approximately 10 TechFlashes annually and there are more than 100 archived reports.

“Members realize evidence-based decision making is the optimal process for evaluating new devices and technology, and when they pair it with a tool like the TechFlash, they achieve much better patient outcomes,” Cummings said.

“Just one decision could save hundreds of thousands of dollars so an impartial, evidence-based report to help make these types of decisions is clearly needed,” he added. “The TechFlash report allows committees to evaluate return on investment from a cost perspective. And from a clinical perspective, it allows them evaluate possible best outcomes for patients. The reports work the same for evaluation of capital equipment or a device for a high-volume procedure.”

Collaboration is key to TechFlash track record of success
Creating the TechFlash reports requires information from a variety of sources. Cummings culls topics ranging from cutting-edge devices and capital equipment to innovative health care procedures from multiple sources, including member and staff recommendations, lists of recently approved devices and controversial technologies.

“One of my primary sources of information is the AMC Supply Chain Value Analysis Council,” Cummings said. “I present at their conferences a couple times a year and acquire information by networking and learning about the latest in medical devices and procedures.”

In addition, he hosts the Technology Assessment Special Interest Group, a bimonthly conference call where members talk about topics they’re working on and share industry information. This is a collaborative community of interest open to all members. By leveraging the power of a proverbial think-tank dynamic, Cummings identifies subject matter for future reports.

The latest report will highlight a prostatic urethral lift for treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Others slated for later in 2017 include topics such as innovative medical devices and the opioid epidemic and telemedicine/telepresence in the hospital setting.

“An effective value analysis process is essential and the TechFlash reports help hospitals in their quest to achieve sound evidence-based decision making,” said Cummings. “This resource has been proven to save committees considerable time and effort as they work to determine which new technologies they want to implement. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use resource to improve the work of your value analysis team, consider leveraging the TechFlash reports.”

Members currently participating in a Vizient performance improvement collaborative will see new TechFlash reports in the Performance Improvement Collaboratives newsletter. For members not participating in a collaborative, contact Joe Cummings for more information and access to the TechFlash reports.

Below is a list of the most recent reports:

• TechFlash: SpaceOAR Temporary Hydrogel Spacer for Use During Prostate Radiation Therapy
• TechFlash: CardioMEMS® for Remote Monitoring of Heart Failure
• TechFlash: T2 Magnetic Resonance® for Rapid Diagnosis of Candidemia
• TechFlash: Temporary Intragastric Balloons for Treatment of Obesity
• TechFlash: ResQCPR™ Augmented Resuscitation System for Cardiac Arrest
• TechFlash: Watchman™ Left Atrial Appendage Closure Device for Stroke Prevention in Atrial Fibrillation 
• TechFlash: Drug-Coated Balloon Catheters for Femoropopliteal Angioplasty


Published: March 28, 2017