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Serving Ambulatory Surgery Centers: A Q&A with DePuy Synthes

DePuy Synthes Scott Zellner

With interest in outpatient surgeries continuing to increase, medical device companies should be asking themselves whether their products—as well as their customer support programs—are ready for such a shift. 

DePuy Synthes has been equipping ambulatory surgery centers with devices and support needed for orthopedic procedures for many years as ASCs emerged as a burgeoning site of care. MD+DI recently asked Scott Zellner, Senior Director, U.S. Joint Reconstruction and Outpatient Marketing, a few questions about the shift and the company’s approach.

MD+DI: How would the shift of orthopedic procedures, such as surgeries of the shoulder, hand, foot and ankle, from hospitals to ambulatory surgery centers impact patient care? Healthcare in general? Does DePuy Synthes support such a shift?

Zellner: We believe that innovation in the medical devices industry goes beyond any individual product. We are reinventing the way we do business and the ways we bring innovation to the marketplace to help shape the future of healthcare by partnering with our customers to address the triple aim that result in a better overall experience for them and their patients. DePuy Synthes offers a suite of solutions to help customers address topics such as bundled payments, data collection and analytics, reimbursement, single-sourcing, outpatient joint replacement, and the increasing use of biologics.

Since the emergence of ASCs, DePuy Synthes has recognized the importance of the ASC as a site of care for patients requiring orthopedic procedures of the shoulder, hand, foot, and ankle.

More recently, there has been a shift of outpatient spine as well as hip and knee replacement surgery to the ASC environment, and it is one of the fastest growing segments in orthopedics today. DePuy Synthes is seeing growth in outpatient hip and knee replacement due to several factors. These include the move to value-based payments over fee-for-service; increasing patient demand and surgeon interest; the rapid rise of the ambulatory surgical center as a site of care; advances in pain management and minimally invasive techniques; the trend toward high-deductible health plans (e.g., higher out-of-pocket costs for patients); careful patient selection; and data supporting positive clinical and economic outcomes.

MD+DI: What progress has DePuy Synthes made?

Zellner: We offer the Outpatient Solutions Program to facilitate best practices and protocols for joint replacement in ASCs and outpatient hospitals, and we are seeing double-digit growth in outpatient joint replacement surgery. We host various trainings for healthcare professionals on ways our products and services may help improve clinical outcomes, increase patient satisfaction, and reduce overall costs. With the move of hip and knee replacement as well as some spinal procedures to ASCs, DePuy Synthes has created a robust educational offering that is designed for those who work in the ASC. From orthopedic surgeons to senior administrators and operational leaders, we are working to help those interested in the outpatient setting advance their collective knowledge about this important site of care.

Earlier this year, Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies (which DePuy Synthes is a part of) launched the CareAdvantage program. CareAdvantage is a holistic, data-driven approach, grounded in insights, that accesses the broad clinical, consumer, and operational capabilities of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies. There are several areas of our CareAdvantage offering that supports DePuy Synthes goals with ASCs. Specific CareAdvantage capabilities include consumer and patient engagement and insights, operational efficiency, digital care navigation, and our Shared Performance agreement. [For more details, see this press release.]

MD+DI: What goals remain for DePuy Synthes?

Zellner: We will continue to discover and introduce new solutions based on deep market insights and an understanding of unmet needs within the outpatient environment. Our collaborations with major technology partners HP and IBM will also play an important role for providers and patients in both the hospital and ASC environments.

  • Through our partnership with IBM Watson Health we will deliver better solutions for joint replacement patients through a science-based, insights-driven approach to a range of treatments and solutions including behavior modification tools, which can ultimately result in improved health outcomes, lower costs, and greater patient satisfaction.
  • Health Partner for Knees and Health Partner for Hips are the first tools from the Johnson & Johnson and IBM Watson Health partnership and was developed in close collaboration with DePuy Synthes to provide an innovative solution that assists patients on their journey to knee and hip health, with a focus on knee-replacement and hip replacement surgery prep and recovery. It takes a holistic approach to achieving positive outcomes.

MD+DI: Are there clinician training challenges?

Zellner: We view training within the ASC environment as an opportunity. DePuy Synthes hosts various trainings for healthcare professionals throughout the year on ways to utilize our products in a safe and effective manner, improve clinical outcomes, increase patient satisfaction, and reduce overall costs in both an inpatient and outpatient setting.

MD+DI: What steps should a medical device company take in supporting the use of their devices for ambulatory surgery centers?

Zellner: The increased volume of hip and knee replacements in the ASCs drives the need for efficiencies in the OR to decrease overall costs while providing the highest level of care. As part of our Outpatient Solutions, developed for healthcare providers to more effectively manage the transition from inpatient to outpatient joint replacement, we offer access (based on the needs of individual providers and health systems) to high-quality implants, world-class education and training from leaders in the field, data collection software and tools including digital care navigation, tray optimization and inventory management, and professional and patient engagement programs all designed to improve outcomes, manage costs, increase patient satisfaction, and improve efficiency in an outpatient setting. Each of these areas is important in the development of a successful outpatient program.

In addition to the many ways we are bringing innovation forward beyond our products specifically, we have strategic alliances with companies like Pacira Pharmaceuticals Inc. to co-promote EXPAREL (bupivacaine liposome injectable suspension), a long-lasting, non-opioid, local analgesic administered at the surgical site. EXPAREL provides targeted, non-opioid pain control by working right at the site of surgery, allowing for long lasting pain relief, earlier weight bearing, and mobilization immediately following surgery, which is beneficial for patients in both the hospital and ASC setting. Agreements such as this help to enhance the company’s portfolio and reach in both the hospital setting and in ASCs. Another example is with our exclusive licensing agreement with MedTrak Inc. to offer subscription-based services through a software solution known as CareSense. This system enables healthcare providers and institutions to collect and analyze real-time data on the “triple aim” measures of patient outcomes, patient satisfaction, and costs.

MD+DI: What challenges remain for the medical device industry?

Zellner: DePuy Synthes continues to recognize that innovation within the industry needs to go beyond any individual product. We are reinventing the ways we bring forward innovation so we can shape healthcare and address the triple aim.

Editor’s note: DePuy Synthes also shared this patient’s journey with outpatient surgery here The company also shares its brochures on its educational program here

Daphne Allen is executive editor of Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News and a contributor to MD&DI. Reach her at and on Twitter at @daphneallen 

For the latest insights on medical product development, R&D, user-centered design, and more, attend the conference at MD&M Minneapolis November 8-9, 2017.

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