Orthopedic dashboards address total performance & procedural costs

Chris Stewart

Continuously monitoring the market for new technology and trends is a hallmark differentiator of the Medical Device Management (MDM) offering at HealthTrust, shares Chris Stewart, the organization’s new VP of MDM. This enables the team to innovate beyond sourcing activities to assist members in addressing market realities.

Recently, the team has seen an accelerated shift in the adoption of enabling technologies such as orthopedic robotics used in hip, knee and spine surgeries. “While this shift is exciting,” Stewart says, “We are actively capturing and evaluating cost intelligence to mitigate any unforeseen financial disruption for our members.”

Scott Driskell

Scott Driskell, HealthTrust’s Clinical Director, MDM, agrees. “This is a rapidly growing space. I think you’re going to find that robotics will be the standard as opposed to the exception in the future. However, hospitals do have some uncertainty regarding costs and utilization.”

More than the implant cost

HealthTrust has a long history of negotiating the best price for physician preference items for its members. “The MDM team is in a unique position to take that support to the next level by offering data intelligence beyond the price of acquiring the implants,” Stewart explains.

Members taking advantage of HealthTrust’s orthopedic dashboards now have a new resource to assist with accessing the total cost of a procedure. Tools within the dashboard will enable members to extract valuable informatics regarding the cost and utilization of robotics in orthopedic surgery.

Jimmy Yancey

“It’s often difficult for buyers to figure out what the actual cost per case is,” says Jimmy Yancey, HealthTrust’s AVP, Medical Device Management. The new functionality within the orthopedics dashboard will help members gain clarity they’ve not had before.

Understanding the cost per case

“With robotics, it’s rarely a situation where you’re only paying capital costs,” explains Yancey. Buyers believe they are contracting for a specific expense—a $3,600 knee, for example. In the end, it becomes a $4,600 knee because there are procedural costs that were not accounted for.

“With robotics, additional costs may come in the form of disposables, navigational software or premium implants,” he shares. You could go from using what you consider a standard knee or a low-demand knee to a high-demand knee, and the high-demand knee, comes at a higher cost.

Not only are you now paying for the disposables on a cost per case basis, you now also have an increase in the implants being used.”

The change from standard to premium knees may happen because surgeons want to offer their patients the better outcomes promised by the premium devices, but you may have yet to budget for those choices.

HealthTrust’s new orthopedic dashboard tools allow members to track utilization by specific technology, says Driskell. “We can track increased costs across the dashboard, so it illustrates how a robot could potentially drive costs outside of just the capital purchase and the disposables.”

Mitigating surprises

Costs can also escalate if surgeons are not performing the number of robotics surgeries contracted. Typically, if a hospital doesn’t meet the number of robotics surgeries agreed to in the contract—for example, 20 cases a month with the robot—shortfall penalties can be imposed.

The HealthTrust orthopedics dashboard allows tracking of the types of surgeries your surgeons are performing. That data can help you avoid the failure to meet contractual obligations and taking a potentially significant financial hit or, alternately, prepare you for the expense.

Being able to monitor adoption rates of robotics through the dashboard enables more informed choices about whether a member needs to upgrade what they currently have or add more robotics to their portfolio, Yancey explains.

With the dashboard, members can take the cost per case data and couple that with adoption rates. “This offers more insight into what you’re buying and what your trends are going to look like moving forward,” he shares.

Not only is such information important when judging whether to move to newer technology is the right choice, but it also helps determine if you should lease equipment or if it would be more advantageous to purchase, Yancey adds.

The dashboard tools enable large hospital system members to understand how robots are used across different facilities, Driskell says. Members can track the costs of different robots in various facilities, and tracking utilization may provide an indication that a particular robot is not giving your surgeons the experience you were promised or expected.

In addition to helping members understand the utilization and costs of their robotics, the features of the orthopedics dashboard also track patient lengths of stay when a surgery is performed with a robot versus when it’s not, says Driskell. This enables members to answer the question: “Is this premium technology with a robot resulting in a shorter patient length of stay or driving down costs on inpatient stays?”

More than robotics

“These aren’t just robotics dashboards. Members without robotics may also find the tools useful,” Yancey explains. “These are orthopedic dashboards, and they’re customizable. This is just one more way for members to be able to dig into their orthopedic spend and engage their physicians.”

Stewart adds, “In theory, the innovative dashboards were developed to improve patient outcomes, while delivering cost savings, cost avoidance and unnecessary variation.”

The new tools are tabs within the orthopedics dashboard, offered to Medical Device Management subscribers at no additional cost. The team indicates that more iterations will be coming in the future.

Dig into your ortho spend by contacting the Medical Device Management team.

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