We’re continuing today with part two in the series on the importance of data enrichment. In case you haven’t read it yet, part one explores the impact on enterprise data strategy from the perspective of hospital CIOs. It’s an insightful Q&A with Nic Sagez, Curvo’s Chief Technology Officer.

Today, we turn our focus to clinical service line leaders and directors of surgical services. As a key component of an enterprise data strategy, data enrichment is vitally important to enterprise data analytics. Leaders in these roles need reliable and insightful data just as much as others.

To help us understand why data enrichment matters to service line leaders, Stan Mendenhall shares how Curvo’s data-as-a-service offering provides robust data enrichment – as well as what hospitals without Curvo do to try and achieve comparable insights.

Stan Mendenhall has been editor of Orthopedic Network News since 1991, which has necessitated the development of a classification of orthopedic implants to facilitate price comparisons (GIC). He has provided recommendations to CMS on the structure and design of ICD-10-PCS procedures codes for hip and knee implant procedures and has consulted with a number of orthopedic professional organizations on coding and classification issues.

Here’s what Stan has to say to clinical service line leaders about the importance of data enrichment:

Why do data enrichments matter for large hospitals and hospital systems?

Data enrichments matter because large hospitals and hospital systems are some of today’s largest sources of data. This data includes many different types of data: most people think first of the clinical data associated with the ongoing care of every patient. However, they are also collecting data on business transactions, including supplies used, devices implanted, and equipment deployed.

There is so much that can be done with this data, such as analyzing business transaction data to reduce costs and improve healthcare delivery efficiency or realizing critical clinical insights into patient care and experience.

But to accomplish any of this, first it’s imperative to understand the data. It takes a robust enterprise data strategy to get to a place where this data is actionable.

A big part of having healthy enterprise analytics is getting clean (or enriched) data. We’re talking about connecting transactions with clinical insights, knowing at a glance the key clinical aspects of any device or supply.

How are hospitals that don’t use Curvo accomplishing this today?

Many healthcare systems enrich their data either internally or with external help. In either case, it is a resource-intensive and expensive process.

Without Curvo, healthcare providers must rely on some kind of methodology to compare products within categories. They may use GMDN, UNSPSC or other methodologies. These are useful methodologies that can inform purchasing decisions, but may lack the kind of clinical data points that can further empower a hospital’s decision-making and negotiating position.

How do those limitations affect a hospital’s quality of analysis and decision-making?

When hospitals and supply chain teams focus strictly on the business aspects of the supply chain data, they tend to become overly focused on price. This is a problem for several reasons:

  1. Accurate prices may not be reflective of actual costs.
  2. They may miss out on data about clinical effectiveness. A higher-priced product with vastly better patient outcomes is certainly worth the spend.
  3. They are likely to run into problematic groupings, which distort the numbers.

Let me share an example of how certain groupings can hurt hospitals. One hospital several years back was doing a sourcing project for trauma products. The team had a group, let’s call it “clamps.” It included several types of clamps, which can run several hundred dollars apiece. But it also included $20 washers. Taking an average component price for this group was skewing the data. This grouping made the data less useful, not more.

What do current Curvo data subscription customers see as the value of our Data-as-a-Service offering?

Our current Data-as-a-Service customers see a wide range of benefits and values. One of the most important is the value that we place on the accuracy of the data enrichments. Better data helps everybody. Many supply chain teams are hamstrung by incomplete or inaccurate data collection systems. Having a partner like Curvo to clean up and make sense of the data results is a huge differentiator.

What are some limitations of hospitals relying on GMDN to do manual data enrichment?

GMDN is a wonderful classification system for medical devices. There are some 10,000+ categories of very specific and detailed information on the devices, including how they work and their purpose, which is often the initial source for research into the medical devices.

Having said that, there are a few limitations to GMDN’s general use:

  • Lack of uniformity in application: Each manufacturer decides which GMDN term to apply to its medical devices. Some are incredibly precise, often creating new categories for specific devices, while others lack specificity or are downright incorrect.
  • Lack of hierarchical structure: With over 10,000 categories, a hierarchical system of accessing the data becomes essential. For example, there are several categories for “stents,” including drug-eluting, bare metal, coronary, non-coronary, peripheral, neurovascular, and others. To answer the question of “what did we spend on stents?” requires a road-map to obtain that information. At present, that doesn’t exist within GMDN.
  • Non-coverage of all supply spend. Currently the GUDID (where the GMDN is applied), only pertains to medical devices regulated through the FDA’s CDRH (Center for Devices and Radiological Health). This means that allograft tissue products, such as amniotic tissue derivatives, are exempt from reporting to the GUDID. In addition, purchased services, such as neuromonitoring, will not be in the GUDID.

Can you provide an example of how clinical service line leaders have seen real benefits from Curvo’s data subscription?

On the clinical side, there are several examples of how several issues researched by Curvo customers have resulted in either quality improvements, reduced costs, or both.

  • Bone cement: Curvo has raised the awareness of its clients on the distribution of antibiotic and non-antibiotic bone cement used in knee replacements, leading to a more “rational” usage pattern. Curvo has also highlighted how the number of units of bone cement used varies from 1, 2, or more than 2 units. This has led to reduced usage in bone cement in knee replacements for some clients.
  • BMP usage: Bone morphogenic protein (BMP) is a device used in spinal fusion surgery. Costs vary from less than $1000 to over $5000. Many of Curvo’s clients have realized savings by using smaller sizes of BMP for spinal fusion surgery.
  • Acetabular screw holes/screws: The usage of screws to fix an acetabular shell to the pelvis during hip replacement surgery has had a long history. And the device companies have responded by creating shells with more screw holes to accommodate surgeries in which it is unclear which part of the pelvis will have sufficient hardness to accommodate screws. Unfortunately, a greater number of holes has been associated with higher prices, and the screws themselves carry a cost.

See for Yourself

Curvo’s Data-as-a-Service data enrichment subscription is a tremendous benefit to large hospitals and hospital systems. With clean, rich data, supply chain teams and clinical service line leaders alike can gain operational insights and realize significant savings.

To see what our data enrichment services can do for you, request a demo today.