Three large U.S. health systems and one of the nation's largest health benefits companies today launched a new venture to conduct independent studies on the long-term effectiveness of medical devices that are implanted into patients for everything from heart problems to bad knees and hips.
The new venture, called SharedClarity, includes Dallas-based Baylor Health Care System, San Francisco-based Dignity Health, and Illinois-based Advocate Health Care, along with UnitedHealthcare. Collectively, the three member systems employ about 100,000 people and care for about 7 million patients per year at more than 850 locations around the country. UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company, provides health benefits to more than 40 million Americans. SharedClarity plans to add additional health system members in the coming months.
The goal of SharedClarity is to improve patient outcomes by identifying the best-performing devices in a number of categories, including stents, defibrillators, pacemakers, knee and hip implants, and heart valves.
SharedClarity will use the results of the studies to select the best devices for patients and negotiate affordable purchasing agreements with device manufacturers. Hospitals across the United States spend more than $30 billion annually on the 30 most frequently used categories of devices, according to analyst estimates. The SharedClarity medical device studies will be overseen by physicians from each of the health systems, using data from member hospitals and claims information from UnitedHealthcare. The recently announced Optum Labs facility will be the data and research partner for SharedClarity with consultants from the Lewin Group, long known for its independent research in the health care industry, overseeing the research.
"Independent research on the long-term performance of these widely used medical devices will help each of our health systems improve care and result in better patient outcomes," said Dr. Lee B. Sacks, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for Advocate Health Care. "SharedClarity will provide a comprehensive view of how these medical devices perform after being inserted into patients, using an unprecedented amount of data. It's crucial information that will benefit patients and improve the quality of care."
"We are always looking for ways to improve quality and increase efficiencies in the care we provide," said Dr. David Ballard, Chief Quality Officer for Baylor Health Care System. "And we believe our patients will benefit from these studies."
Unlike many medical device studies, the SharedClarity studies will not be funded by manufacturers.
"SharedClarity was formed to help our members deliver high-quality care to their patients," said Mark West, President of SharedClarity. "By identifying the best-performing devices and the highest likelihood for the best possible outcome for patients, we can play a part in helping our members deliver better patient care and better use their resources."
SharedClarity LLC, which is overseen by a board that includes member representatives and owned by its members, is in discussions with additional health systems to join as members. SharedClarity's Clinical Review Teams will include physicians from member health systems who will work with Optum Labs to oversee the research and analysis of data for each medical device category evaluated.
"We have a responsibility as providers and insurers to deliver the highest quality, most affordable care possible," said Richard Roth, Vice President of Strategic Innovation for Dignity Health. "In joining together to form SharedClarity we are building a platform that will give doctors, hospitals, and insurers the information we need to make evidence-based decisions about the care we are providing."
SharedClarity is a unique joint effort between health care systems and UnitedHealthcare to use data from tens of millions of patients to study the long-term effectiveness of high-technology medical devices that have a high impact on patients. SharedClarity will use the results of the studies to select the best devices for patients and negotiate affordable purchasing agreements with manufacturers. For more information, please visit www.SharedClarity.net