Mercy, along with Geisinger, Intermountain Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente and Mayo Clinic, are putting their heads together so patients with implanted devices – everything from heart stents to artificial knees, metal screws to metal plates – have less to worry about.
“Currently, the health care industry does not have a system in place to track medical devices worldwide,” said Robert Rea, M.D., specializing in cardiovascular diseases at Mayo Clinic. “That means whenever something goes wrong with a device, it’s difficult to target recalls and ensure patients with those devices get notified as soon as possible.”
The Healthcare Transformation Group (HTG), a collaboration between the five health care systems’ supply chain divisions, has created a Research & Development (R&D) team, made up of physicians and clinical researchers, to implement the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Unique Device Identification (UDI), which provides a single, globally accepted way to positively identify medical devices.
“There are millions of people on the planet today with implanted devices,” said Joseph Drozda, Jr., MD, Mercy’s director of outcomes research and the newly named chair of HTG’s R&D Team. “While devices help extend and improve our quality of life, we must be able to quickly identify and correct problem devices. It’s paramount that we improve patient safety.”
If there’s any doubt that the need for better identification of implanted medical devices exists, consider the following: