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Good 2 Great Update

In this era of health care reform, the pressure is on to provide cost-effective care without compromising patient safety and quality care. Recently, as part of HCGH’s Good 2 Great initiative, physicians on staff at HCGH and hospital leadership worked hand-in-hand to investigate possibilities and implement effective changes that will accomplish both ideals.

Spine Surgery

Physicians from the departments of Orthopaedics and Neurosurgery reviewed the equipment and supplies used at HCGH and were able to successfully achieve cost reductions.


Another opportunity for cost savings was in the area of endomechanicals in surgery, including staplers, clips and trocars. Previously, the hospital stocked materials from a variety of different vendors. Although the hospital wanted to investigate possible savings by going with just one vendor, it was important to hospital leadership that surgeons/physicians be involved in the planning and decision making from the very beginning.

HCGH teamed with a device company called Covidien and, from May to November 2011, participated in the “On Track” program. Meetings started with small groups of surgeons, which led to larger meetings and, ultimately, a clinical trial.

For a few months, the hospital stocked only Covidien products and asked physicians to evaluate the products. By the end of September, after more than 280 evaluations, 94 percent of the devices were rated superior or acceptable. But, there still remained the 6 percent.

“It was vital to us that we had satisfied the concerns of the entire surgical staff,” emphasized Eric Aldrich, M.D., vice president of Medical Affairs. “Therefore, we extended the program an additional month to address the specific concerns that were raised. The month of October was spent following up on those concerns by talking directly to surgeons at HCGH and Johns Hopkins as well as other experts from across the country.”

After detailed information and expert opinions were gathered, it was decided that the hospital would change exclusively to Covidien products.

“As we go forward, it is key that we respond to the pressures of health care reform,” said Dr. Aldrich “and as opportunities present themselves, we will balance cost-effective care with quality and safety via an evidence-based medicine approach.”