Best of Spend Matters: Healthcare Matters

We've hit the official dog days of summer. For Jason's last official week of vacation, we'll be featuring a "Best of" series every day this week. Have no fear: after Labor Day, we'll be revived and ready to hit the ground running!

How Much Does Your Doctor Make? -- There's an old joke about a housewife who complains about the $175 she just paid her plumber. Briefly, when she sees her plumber's bill for fixing a leaky faucet, she grumbles and says: "I paid less than half of this the last time I visited my doctor." The plumber responds, saying: "I know, I used to be a doctor." We keep reading about diminishing reimbursements. The cost of medical school is now debated in the context of return on investment (ROI). Physician demographics are literally changing the face of the business and most of us know a doctor or two who candidly talks about wanting out –because the money isn't there anymore. Well is it true?

BravoSolution Makes Healthcare Industry's "Fast 40? -- Most every time a supply chain management executive gets quoted, whether it's to comment on an industry award or in response to some other form of recognition, we hear the same thing: something about how "current economic pressures underscore the need to drive cost savings and uncover new efficiencies." And if it's healthcare-related, "improving patient outcomes" is always tied to the statement, regardless of what's being discussed.

MedAssets Makes its "Big Data" Move: Teradata + WhereScape -- WhereScape, a provider of solutions for building and extending data warehouses, announced today that MedAssets has purchased its "big data" development environment –called WhereScape RED. WhereScape RED is an integrated development environment (IDE) designed to make it easier and faster to build data warehouses that are more simple to support, change and extend. After selecting the Teradata Data Warehouse Appliance and Teradata Database as its data platform (WhereScape has been a Teradata partner since 2006), MedAssets' decision to go with WhereScape speaks to its goal to quickly deliver enhanced analytic capabilities –both for its internal use and for the direct benefit/access of its customers. Not that it didn't recognize the need before its acquisition of Broadlane, but after that deal got done, the company's big data solution search became urgent.

Sharks Circling Stryker Hip Recall -- Attorneys say the recall of Stryker Corp.'s Rejuvenate and ABG II metal hip replacementcomponents may undermine a key defense argument previously made by Stryker and several other manufacturers that metal-on-metal hip replacements are not inherently flawed. Stryker's device differentiates from other metal-on-metal hip implants because it has a metal neck inside the metal stem rather than a metal ball rubbing against a metal socket. Nevertheless, the tissue injury risks and other patient problems being linked to this particular Stryker hip are identical to the ones linked to other metal hips such as DePuy's ASR. As recently as last month, several of the medical device makers argued to the FDA that their hip replacement products were too different to be lumped together in a class but should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Evidence-based Second Opinions –Now Online -- Your "second opinion" has found the web. A new company, called GuidelineMedicus, has just launched a searchable database of evidence-based medical guidelines (EBMGs). "Is my doctor recommending the best possible treatment for me?" While that's the kind of question GuidelineMedicus endeavors to help answer for John Q. Patient, what the company actually wants to motivate is a more productive dialogue between doctors and patients –and that's a value prop that is right on time.

- Sheena Moore

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