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Physicians' Ties to IMD Manufacturers Can Ratchet Up Costs

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, February 23, 2012

Using that committee structure, which included a physician champion designated for purchasing, the hospital system has reversed its losses and has a notched a competitive price index better than 83% of hospitals with implant costs, she says. The overarching plan was to "have accountability and manage costs, delivering high quality without compromising clinical care," she tells HealthLeaders Media. "The high quality component is required."

The administration and physician teamwork is essential, she adds.  The message from administrators to physicians: We need your help to improve cash flow and manage our costs. Their cooperation led to a "trusting relationship" between the two groups, she says.

"The vendors know because of the relationship I have with physicians, they just don't get everything they want at this hospital," Mckinney told me recently. "They know they have to go through the protocols that have been established."

The physicians help establish the protocols; the docs helped draft them. "That makes a significant difference because (physicians) are at the table making decisions," she says.

Too often, hospital systems don't carry out such a coordinated program. And physicians' relationship alone with device manufacturers has a significant impact on hospitals' expenditures related to devices.

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