Sustainability Strategies at Piedmont Hospital: 10 Years of Reprocessing Success in the EP Lab
- Volume 11 - Issue 10 - October 2011
- Posted on: 9/26/11
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- Ongoing staff training. As Piedmont’s EP lab advances its practice to include more involved procedures such as complex ablations and new treatments for arrhythmia disorders, it invests in IBHRE-accredited (International Board of Heart Rhythm Examiners) staff with a firm grasp on current field training in cardiac rhythm device therapy and cardiac electrophysiology. Advanced, ongoing training increases familiarity with the benefits of reprocessing, which encourages trust and confidence among the Piedmont EP physicians.
- Increase collections to pave the way for growth. Piedmont works with its reprocessing vendor to collect all used catheters, regardless of reprocessing clearance, to minimize Piedmont’s waste and handling costs. Diverting used catheters from the waste stream has the added benefit of helping reprocessors pursue additional 510(k) clearances on devices, a tactic that pays dividends in the future. For example, when Stryker (then Ascent) began reprocessing the Carto 3 catheter, Piedmont had already been sending Carto 3 devices through the collections process, so it was in a good position to buy them back at a fraction of the price of the original device after the Carto 3 had received 510(k) clearance.
- Beware of anti-reprocessing tactics. Original equipment manufacturers may try to interrupt your reprocessing program. Some OEMs have embraced reprocessing as an effective sustainability offering, though others are continually threatened by how reprocessing negatively impacts their bottom lines. When you are negotiating contracts and pricing, protect the savings you’ve realized through reprocessing by questioning OEM technology upgrades or contractual stipulations that could interfere with your ability to buy back reprocessed and remanufactured devices. You have the leverage to challenge vendor contract language about “one-time-use-only.”
- Constantly evaluate performance. Regularly review your EP lab’s financial picture in conjunction with your reprocessing program to identify new opportunities for savings and growth. Work with your reprocessing vendor to establish fiscal and environmental metrics for success, and then meet quarterly to review the data against your program’s performance. Though reprocessing is an essential solution for fiscal and environmental sustainability, it requires strict accountability measures to ensure maximum success.
- Think beyond the EP lab. The whole hospital system can benefit from reprocessing. At Piedmont, the EP lab is the primary generator of bottom-line savings from reprocessing programs. The same sorts of savings possibilities exist in other parts of the hospital, including general surgery. Don’t leave it to one part of the system to be the main generator of savings from reprocessing programs — share your results with the hospital’s executive team. Make the case. The numbers are self-evident, and the need to maximize effective cost-savings strategies in a time of resource scarcity and uncertainty cannot be overstated.