Clinical Check In: A Pumped-up Process

HealthTrust Releases New Cardiovascular Phase I Contracts

Nearly one in four deaths is caused by cardiovascular disease, now ranked as the leading cause of death in the United States. To combat these statistics, healthcare providers are constantly seeking ways to offer cutting-edge cardiovascular (CV) health services. With its recent release of new CV phase I contracts, HealthTrust now offers opportunities for members to get preferred pricing and services on many of the latest CV products and equipment. The HealthTrust clinical evidence team recently completed the evaluation and reevaluation of CV 
phase I products, which include the newest, proven technologies for cardiac balloons, defibrillators and drug-eluting stents.

While HealthTrust’s portfolio of cardiovascular contracts continues to include many of the same products members have relied on for years, the new contracts do feature a number of products, supplies and equipment that represent the latest technologies.

Negotiating the best price is a vital part of any contracting process, but HealthTrust’s contract reviews aren’t just about costs. They also include full clinical, evidence-based reviews of various products and services, based on member needs and promising new trials and studies. Members can use this

Head Shot of Robin Cunningham
Robin Cunningham, MSN, RN

information to make decisions about selecting the right products for their facilities and providers.

HealthTrust has recently been monitoring controversial, new meta-analysis related to drug-coated balloons and drug-eluting stents for the treatment of peripheral vasculature blockages, 
according to Robin Cunningham, MSN, RN, a clinical director in physician services at HealthTrust.

“Many clinical trials have been conducted around the efficacy of these products in the treatment of leg blockages as compared to the standard of care,” she says. “Because these devices can typically be more expensive, our team wants to research which procedures and devices give the best, longest-lasting results for these patients. The clinical evidence team will work with our endovascular specialists across the country to get feedback on the best evidence, outcomes and clinical practice around these devices and procedures.

“The goal is for our members and physicians to have relevant clinical information to make the best decisions for their patients,” she adds.

Some of the new cardiovascular products that may attract the most attention will be those included in cardiovascular phase II, which kicks off in early 2019. “We predict HealthTrust clinical board members will be interested in the latest clinical evidence surrounding the devices in CV phase II,” Cunningham says. “A few new devices have entered the market in carotid stenting, drug-coated balloons and vascular closure. Our reviews will provide information on these devices, along with sound physician expertise on related outcomes.”

Understanding the Review Process

Since the healthcare field evolves so rapidly, HealthTrust maintains a rigid schedule of evaluating and reevaluating various groups of products and services every few years. Through that process, the clinical evidence team reviews relevant literature and outcomes research on the latest technology in each particular contract area, including pharmaceuticals, to determine if particular products, devices, drugs or services should be considered for contracts.

“Clinical evidence reviews are typically conducted for physician preference and clinically sensitive product categories that have a significant impact on patient care,” explains

Headshot of Denise Dunco
Denise Dunco, MSN, RN

Denise Dunco, MSN, RN, a manager in physician services at HealthTrust. The team is aided by input from HealthTrust Physician Advisors, a large and growing group of 160 practicing physicians from 31 member hospitals, as well as members of HealthTrust’s clinical and non-clinical advisory boards. These boards are made up of facility-level representatives, with expertise in their respective specialties, who provide input on or facilitate reviews of products, suppliers and emerging technologies.

Recommendations from the clinical advisory boards are reviewed, along with relevant clinical evidence, and must be approved by the supply chain board prior to awarding a contract.

Contracts Under Consideration

Because cardiovascular health is a broad area with a wide array of related products and services, HealthTrust reviews cardiovascular contracts in three phases. Phase I is now complete, and the contracts, as well as accompanying evidence reviews, can be accessed on the HealthTrust member portal. Contracts and clinical evidence reviews for phases II and III will be available in the coming months.

Here’s the breakdown of the types of
products and services included in CV Phase I:

• Bare metal stents
• Cardiac balloons
• Cardiac resynchronization therapy
• Implantable cardioverter defibrillators
• Leads and accessories
• Pacemakers
• Device stabilization
• Drug-eluting stents
• Heart failure monitors

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