Medical devices range from blood glucose test strips and stethoscopes to more complex products, such as pacemakers and joint replacements. These technologies are used in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and patients’ homes to diagnose, treat, or prevent illness. Many people have benefited from such recent advances, and Americans increasingly rely on medical devices.
However, failures of medical devices over past decades have demonstrated the need to more quickly identify problems to help ensure the safety of the public. For example, failing metal-on-metal hip replacements and implantable cardioverter defibrillator leads—used by hundreds of thousands of people to detect and correct abnormal heart rhythms—have led to significant patient harm and deaths in recent years.
Pew’s medical device initiative worked to enhance medical device safety and foster device innovation that benefits patients. Pew’s initiative had three main areas of focus, including:
- Improving the current state of medical device registries—databases containing information on patients who use or are treated with a specific device.
- Supporting the adoption of a unique device identification (UDI) system to better track medical devices.
- Fostering medical device innovation with these and other new approaches without compromising patient safety.
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The new leadership at Medicare is reviewing its support for a possible change in hospital billing forms. That single change—adding a number about 14 digits long to identify medical devices — could reap enormous benefits in greater patient safety and save billions in taxpayer money. Previously, Medicare stated that this change could improve the identification of safety problems with... Read More
A commission that advises Congress on issues affecting Medicare has recommended adding medical device identifiers to the next version of the standard claims form used by hospitals and health care providers to request reimbursement from a health plan. Read More
Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston who are studying ways to improve the safety of cardiac stents and artificial joints have designed a system to track medical devices on insurance claim forms and detect problems with these products more quickly. The system documents in claims forms medical device identifiers, which indicate the manufacturer and model of a device used. Insurance... Read More