by Healthcare Purchasing News
PHILADELPHIA, March 3, 2010 -- Robert Edelstein, president of Millennium Surgical Corp., contributes to a round table discussion regarding the challenges of surgical instrument procurement. He provides best practices for purchasing high quality instruments while keeping costs low.
"Surgical facilties are in a difficult spot,"described Robert Edelstein, president, Millennium Surgical. "They are continually challenged with maintaining the quality of the surgical instruments they purchase, buying instruments that will last, satisfying surgeons, and lowering cost."
"Adding to this challenge is the trend for surgical facilities to reduce staff, forcing employees charged with surgical instrument purchasing to be a jack of all, master of none," he continued. "Many facilities have enough difficulty to even identity the instruments they need, let alone effectively compare cost."
HPN talked to several surgical instrument vendors and manufacturers about what it takes to get a handle on instrument costs.
"Many facilities neglect to streamline instrument sets as much and as often as possible," commented Edelstein." This results in the ordering of unnecessary or too many instruments and having instrument lists that include part numbers will help as replacements or additional sets are needed."
"The highest quality surgical instruments are made in Germany," explained Rudolph, and "many instrument vendors obtain their products from similar or sometimes even the same sources. If a surgeon has a specific request, for example a costly abdominal retractor system, this may be able to be supplied by several different instrument companies. Besides price, be familiar with the quality and warranty."
"It is important to maintain accurate expectations of instrument utilization," Edelstein advised. "If you hear of new surgeons or new procedures coming to your facility, ensure you will be getting a strong ROI before filling an instrument 'wish list'.
"Clearly identify which instruments do not impact surgeon satisfaction," he said. "Buy these from the low cost vendor as long as the quality provides an instrument which will hold up well. Being forced to replace instruments often will counter any benefit of reduced cost. Focus your cost comparison and evaluation on the higher cost items. These items will have the most effect on your surgeon satisfaction and your budget.
"Use a vendor that will help you receive the most overall value on your instrument purchases: qualified product consultants and the resources to help you do cost comparisons quickly, effectively and in an organized manner," offered Edelstein. "Continue to compare cost. The higher cost specialty instruments present the greatest challenge but also will have the most impact on your bottom line. A good practice is to focus on the instruments which cost more than $100.00 and find a resource that can help you compare these items quickly and effectively. If a certain instrument or instrument vendor is preferred by a surgeon, it does not mean a lower cost alternative which will satisfy the surgeon, cannot be located."