Realizing the Benefits of the Unique Device Identifier in Health Care

Realizing the Benefits of the Unique Device Identifier in Health Care

Experts from hospitals, health plans, health technology developers, medical device manufacturers, and other health care stakeholders convened December 9, 2014 to discuss the importance of medical device identification. The result: a clear message that a new tool to track medical devices can improve patient safety and the quality of care, but changes in health data systems must occur for this to happen.

Steve Posnack and Jamie Ferguson© Herb Perone, The Pew Charitable Trusts

Steve Posnack, left, director of the Office of Standards and Technology at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, and Jamie Ferguson, vice president of health information technology strategy and policy at Kaiser Permanente.

The event—hosted by The Pew Charitable Trusts in partnership with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC)—identified key benefits, challenges, and next steps for implementing unique device identifiers (UDI). Under this system, all medical devices, such as cardiac stents and implanted hips, will be assigned codes corresponding to their manufacturers and model types.

Speaking at the conference, Jeff Shuren, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said that additional data are needed to better understand how medical devices perform and that adoption of UDI in patients’ health records could help provide that information.

Jeff Shuren© Herb Perone, The Pew Charitable Trusts

Jeff Shuren, director of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health, at the Food and Drug Administration.

Allan Coukell, senior director of health programs at The Pew Charitable Trusts, said the UDI system has the potential to help hospitals, doctors, and manufacturers quickly locate recalled products, reduce the costs of health care, and improve patient outcomes.

Speakers from the Mayo Clinic, Aetna, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the National Quality Forum, FDA, ONC, and other leading health care organizations identified the next steps to achieve the UDI system’s potential. These steps include its adoption as part of electronic health record standards, insurance claims submitted by hospitals to health plans, and materials management systems used to track inventory in hospitals.

Spotlight on Mental Health

Composite image of modern city network communication concept

Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

Quick View

How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

Pills illustration
Pills illustration

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

Quick View

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.

Explore Pew’s new and improved
Fiscal 50 interactive

Your state's stats are more accessible than ever with our new and improved Fiscal 50 interactive:

  • Maps, trends, and customizable charts
  • 50-state rankings
  • Analysis of what it all means
  • Shareable graphics and downloadable data
  • Proven fiscal policy strategies

Explore

Welcome to the new Fiscal 50

Key changes include:

  • State pages that help you keep track of trends in your home state and provide national and regional context.
  • Interactive indicator pages with highly customizable and shareable data visualizations.
  • A Budget Threads feature that offers Pew’s read on the latest state fiscal news.

Learn more about the new and improved Fiscal 50.