Source: Medical Dealer

In any health care setting, the number-one issue in supply chain management is cost. As hospital budgets tighten and reimbursement rates become more contingent on quality of care, decision-makers are searching for ways to meet the demands of improved outcomes as well as to maintain their bottom lines. As independent studies and FDA opinions have concurred, reprocessed single-use medical devices can provide a viable and cost-effective alternative to original equipment manufacturer (OEM) products in many cases, and often at a significant price break. Yet the U.S. market for disposable devices is a multi-billion-dollar industry driven by fierce R&D competition and product-line expansion, particularly in the drug delivery, surgical supply and home health care segments.

According to Dan Vukelich, President of the Association of Medical Device Reprocessors (AMDR), only an estimated 2 to 3 percent of single-use medical devices are capable of being reprocessed. Yet because several such devices are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars – from laparoscopic surgical tools to equipment used in cardiac catheterization labs – AMDR estimates that the health care savings of reprocessing those devices is approximately $3 billion annually. Similarly, a new class of patient tools known as Interactive Patient Care (IPC) assists hospitals in meeting service and quality compliance requirements. Patient engagement is a critical lever for these initiatives. IPC provides hospitals with tools to meet discharge education, medication teaching, patient safety, and pain management requirements by using bedside monitors or televisions. And just to encourage the interactive mediums even more, patients have also been provided with bedside entertainment, patient engagement, and communication boards, which have replaced traditional patient whiteboards.

Anyway “Any cardiology catheter that is tossed in the trash is literally throwing away hundreds of dollars in raw materials or devices that could have been used to reduce the overall procedure cost for any individual case,” Vukelich said, “or it’s better spent on new equipment, or can help reach someone who wouldn’t otherwise have access to care.”

Brian White, President of Stryker Sustainability Solutions, said that hospitals also have embraced both lines of products as an alternative to being forced to choose.

“The use of reprocessed single-use is critical to many hospitals’ ability to sustain operations and deliver the best patient care,” White said. “Many physicians choose to use devices from Stryker’s Sustainability Solutions over original devices because they know Stryker reprocessed devices are substantially equivalent to original devices. They also understand this practice helps them reinvest reprocessing savings to other meaningful patient care initiatives.”

Read More.