Archived Project

Medical Device Initiative

Medical Device Initiative

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:

Pew’s work on related issues continues in the Health Information Technology project.

medicaldevice barcode
medicaldevice barcode
Report

Implementing Unique Device Identification

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Report

Patients rely on medical devices to replace failing joints, fix irregular heart rhythms, test blood sugar, unblock clogged arteries, diagnose disease, and improve their health in other ways. Yet for many years these devices have lacked industrywide standard identification numbers, a shortcoming that hinders hospital efforts to track inventory, prevents physicians and patients from having complete information on the products they use, and limits analyses of the real world performance of medical devices. 

medical device identification in insurance claims
medical device identification in insurance claims
Fact Sheet

Why Insurance Claims Should Include Medical Device Identification

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Fact Sheet

Insurance claims are a critical health care data resource. They facilitate payment to providers for services that patients receive. Researchers, government regulators, and health plans also use claims to analyze the quality of care, identify potential problems, and evaluate health care delivery.

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