Devices & Diagnostics, Health IT

From devices to data, Stryker charts smart evolution

Smart medtech companies are realizing that they have to be partners to hospitals and not simply vendors selling widgets.


In another indication that device makers are slowly recognizing that data is key to  future relevance in healthcare, Stryker announced the launch of a solution that can help hospitals understand the value of joint replacements.

The Kalamazoo, Michigan, company announced Wednesday that its Episode Performance Manager would be able to translate raw claims data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) into reports to enable a better understanding of the cost-drivers of joint replacements and identification of opportunities that can improve them.

But perhaps most importantly, the reports would compare performance of hospitals participating in CMS’s Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) model.

Starting April 1, the CJR or bundled payment model went into place. It seeks to look at an entire episode of care for a hip or knee replacement — from three days prior to surgery all the way to 90 days post surgery — and pay providers based on good outcomes for each of those episodes.

Good outcomes could be low infection rates, reduced hospital admissions and other metrics. If providers perform well — in other words the cost of the care is lower than the target price set for each hospital implementing the program, then the hospital wins. If, however, the cost of doing hip and knee surgeries is above the target price, in year two of the program, providers will have to pay back the amount over the target price to CMS.

Under the CMS program, 800 hospitals in 67 geographic areas will be paid under this new model of care, which makes understanding what works and what doesn’t imperative.

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“Success in the evolving alternative payment landscape hinges on the ability to not only understand Medicare claims data, but also to derive value from that data, by using it to inform and implement improvement strategies for the joint episode of care,” said Stuart Simpson, vice president and general manager of Stryker’s Reconstructive Division, in a news release. “Now that providers are held accountable for the cost of care throughout the entire episode, analytics must also provide increased visibility into post-discharge patterns and effectiveness.”

Moves such as these by device makers point to the fact that top companies are embracing their evolving role as partners to hospitals. That’s a significant break from the past where medtech companies charted success simply by how many widgets they sold to hospitals. But the move to value-based care has created an environment where implants and devices are no longer an end by themselves. Wrap-around services increasingly are needed to enhance the value of the hardware.

The Episode Performance Manager tool is borne out of the same broad notion of going beyond the product and truly helping hospitals navigate value-based care and the alternative payment models that CMS is implementing.

Any hospital that currently partners with Stryker Performance Solutions, the orthopedics’ company’s services business launched in 2009, can access the Episode Performance Manager. It will be available from Monday.

Photo: Getty, xrisca30