Healthcare supply chain managers have long used digital tools to assist in key functions such as product research, market pricing, and benchmarking. But many of the legacy tools available are flawed, providing limited functionality, and a poor user experience. For years, supply chain has had to piece together a smattering of separate tools to achieve desired results that, in many cases, simply don’t talk to each other.

But what specifically should you look for when evaluating your current benchmarking solution? There are many possible ways to improve on legacy tools, and it’s important to make sure you’ve considered every angle and feature to ensure that your tool can deliver what you need to power conversations with vendors.

That’s why we’ve created a checklist for you. Here are 7 things you need when benchmarking medical devices:

1. Search by SKU

Any clinical market pricing solution that’s worth considering will have a search by SKU feature. You should be able to identify any clinical product in the system by its SKU code. And a multi-SKU search should be robust. If a tool can’t accept pasted database entries, for example, look elsewhere.

2. Search by Keyword

Search by SKU is powerful, but only when you already have the right SKUs on hand. Sometimes, you may want to search for a particular product, but you don’t know its SKU.

Keyword search is a powerful feature when you don’t know precisely what you’re looking for and only know keywords for the general category or brand.

3. Advanced Search Options

Sometimes a SKU is too specific. And a single keyword is too general. A strong clinical product research solution will offer additional advanced search functions. Look for a solution that allows you to search by most or all of these identifiers:

  • Vendor or manufacturer
  • UOM (unit of measure codes)
  • Catalog number
  • GTIN (Global Trade Item Number)
  • Product Categorization 
  • GIC (Orthopedics classification)
  • Product Line – limit results to those within a specific product line
  • Description – search within products’ description fields

You should also be able to combine any or all fields as a part of advanced search functionality.

4. Rich, Transparent Data

It’s critically important to have powerful product search tools. But those searches are only as valuable as the data they return. Another essential element of your chosen clinical market research and market pricing solution is that it must give you data-rich enhancements and insights, along with data transparency (so much as privacy regulations allow).

One important note here: GPO-based tools are severely limited in that they typically show pricing details only related to the GPO. Your chosen tool should offer real, unbiased, market-based insights.

Look for a solution that returns data in the following categories:

  • Sales volume
  • Sample size – the number of hospitals included in sales volume
  • Benchmark percentiles – price stratified across percentile bands

An added plus would be if it includes:

  • ASP (average selling price)
  • Number of recalls/units affected by a recall
  • Adverse events
  • Initial approval date
  • Approval route
  • Product Categorization 
  • GTIN (with built in links to the GUDID database listing)

When it comes to price negotiations, two of the most powerful data points on this list are the benchmark percentiles and average selling price (ASP). Knowing that you’re below the ASP gives you a real foothold in negotiation, as do the benchmark percentiles. You’ll have a much better handle on what kind of a deal you are (or aren’t) getting on a product when you have access to rich data like this.

5. Price Spray Chart

By this point, you might be wondering how a tool that does all of the above can possibly show you this data in an easy-to-digest format. One solution to this deluge of data is a price spray chart. A quality clinical product research and market pricing solution will display all that rich pricing information in a visual format where you can see exactly how all the various real-world sale prices land.

With a solution like this, you can leverage rich data in a usable visual format. It’s a level of price transparency that the market has never seen before. And it would empower your team as they negotiate prices and contracts for a wide range of clinical products.

6. Contract Analysis

With a contract analysis feature, you would ideally be able to upload an existing price file – and within seconds, perform an analysis that adds in mapped price comparisons based on the tool’s existing database. These would be added as additional columns to your spreadsheet.

This shouldn’t take 10 days to return. This should be returned the same day or within hours/minutes. The power of a contract analysis feature should be in both speed and bulk processing of benchmarking results. At a glance – within minutes, you can identify areas where your hospital or hospital system may be overpaying, right within the contract price file itself.

7. Reporting Tools

In a tool as complex as what we’re describing for benchmarking medical devices, there are bound to be anomalies. You don’t want a system that has known errors you can neither fix nor report. So make sure the pricing solution you select allows you to report suspected errors in the data. Features that are helpful include flagging questionable data or linking similar UOMs within a product.

Investing In A Clinical Product Research & Market Pricing Solution

As a supply chain leader, you know that the best way to get ahead and identify how your hospital can realize savings is through the use of technology. New solutions make it easier to build a defensible negotiation stance by searching unique products and parts, viewing a device’s cost and safety information, and visualizing market competitiveness. For most supply chain teams and healthcare leaders, this means investing in a single search utility for both clinical product research and market pricing 

If you’re currently evaluating a new benchmarking solution, make sure you evaluate the 7 features listed above to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck – and the best solution for your clinical supply chain needs. And if you’re interested in learning about Curvo’s product pricing & market research solution, learn more about Lookup here.