A new entity has decided which stents are clinically superior and is handing out purchasing contracts on behalf of member hospitals.
SharedClarity, which has the backing of insurance giant Unitedhealthcare and the potential to reshape the medical device marketplace, has just announced contracts for stents that its member hospitals will buy.
While Medtronic and Abbott won the battle to select clinically superior stents that physicians liked, Boston Scientific's stents didn't make the cut.
The three-year contract is worth tens of millions of dollars, said Mark West, president of SharedClarity, in an interview Monday.
West declined to provide more detailed specifics of the value of those contracts that Medtronic and Abbott won. Founded in April, 2013, SharedClarity's members are Illinois-based Advocate Health Care , Dallas-based Baylor Scott & White Health, San Francisco-based Dignity Health, Michigan-based McLaren Health Care and health benefits provider UnitedHealthcare.
Physicians from these member health systems review clinical literature of medical devices and respond to surveys about those devices, all with the goal of selecting clinically superior products among similar devices. Those data are then reviewed by Optum Labs, UnitedHealthcare’s healthcare research and innovation division.
If a consensus is achieved, then the SharedClarity sourcing group gets to work by striking contracts with device manufacturers of those products that came out on top in the clinical review, West said. If not, then a more customized comparative effectiveness study is done that harnesses claims data that UnitedHealthcare has on hand as well as device data before a final conclusion can be arrived upon.
For the contracts for bare metal and drug eluting stents, a consensus was reached, and so further study of claims data was not necessary, West said. SharedClarity, which is a for profit group, charges a service fee that is a percentage of the overall contract value.
West also added that members achieved double-digit cost savings by going through SharedClarity in buying these products than they would have if they approached them individually. In a news release, West states how the model has succeeded.
“The contract awards are a huge step forward for SharedClarity,” said Mr. West. “Before these contracts, we were selling a model, a concept. Now, we can show how our model works and how we improve affordability for our members, while providing them with the most effective medical devices. We’re anxious to completing the next round of clinical study reviews and award the next round of contracts.”
In the interview, he said that by mid year, the company expects to conclude studies on peripheral stents and contrast media, and award contracts. Other devices that SharedClarity wants to evaluate are pacemakers, defibrillators knee and hip implants, and heart valves.
West noted that it's simply not a win-win for hospitals who can now access clinically superior products at cheaper prices. It is also a significant advantage for device makers who in addition to having secured commitment of large volume purchases from member hospitals, can now work with UnitedHealthcare to sell their products at hospitals reimbursed by UnitedHealthcare who may not be members of SharedClarity.
"It's a growth opportunity for device makers," he said.
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