UnitedHealth teams with providers to evaluate medical devices

UnitedHealth, along with three provider organizations, has launched a first-of-its-kind initiative to independently measure the effectiveness of medical devices--including stents, defibrillators, pacemakers, knee and hip implants, and heart valves.

UnitedHealth's partners include Baylor Health Care System in Dallas, Dignity Health in San Francisco and Advocate Health Care in Illinois. Together they have formed a new group called SharedClarity that will combine UnitedHealth's claims data with the providers' clinical data to test the devices for performance, replacement needs and hospital readmissions to create a scorecard, reported the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

UnitedHealth and its partners will then use the rating results to pool their purchasing power to negotiate "affordable purchasing agreements" with the manufacturers of the best devices, the San Francisco Business Times reported.

There will be "two price tiers" involved in future negotiations with device makers, Mark West, president of SharedClarity, told InformationWeek Healthcare. "One will be global for the SharedClarity members. The second price tier will be available to United's network providers. So it's an offering that United can offer its network providers to improve the affordability of medical devices."

The ratings also will help UnitedHealth determine which medical devices to cover and assist the providers in knowing which devices to use for treatment decisions.

To learn more:
- read the Minneapolis Star Tribune article
- see the Information Week Healthcare article
- check out the San Francisco Business Times article

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