Outsourcing the Management of Reusable Medical Devices in a Chain-Wide Care Setting: Mixed Methods Feasibility Study

Bart A C Noort*, Paul Buijs, Oskar Roemeling

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

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BACKGROUND: Managing reusable medical devices incurs substantial health care costs and complexity, particularly in integrated care settings. This complexity hampers care quality, safety, and costs. Studying logistical innovations within integrated care can provide insights to medical devices use among staff effectively.

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to establish the feasibility of a logistical intervention through outsourcing and a web portal. The goal was to provide insights into users' acceptability of the intervention, on whether the intervention was successfully implemented, and on the intervention's preliminary efficacy, thus benefiting practitioners and researchers.

METHODS: This paper presents a mixed methods feasibility study at a large chain-wide health care provider in the Netherlands. The intervention entailed outsourcing noncritical reusable medical devices and introducing a web portal for device management. A questionnaire gauged perceived ordering and delivery times, satisfaction with the ordering and delivery process, compliance with safety and hygiene certification, and effects on the care delivery process. Qualitative data in the form of observations, documentation, and interviews were used to identify implementing challenges. Using on-site stocktaking and data from information systems, we analyzed the utilization, costs, and rental time of medical devices before and after the intervention for wheelchairs and anti-pressure ulcer mattresses.

RESULTS: Looking at the acceptability of the intervention, a high user satisfaction with the ordering and delivery process was reported (rated on a 5-point Likert scale). With respect to preliminary efficacy, we noted a reduction in the utilization of wheelchairs (on average, 1106, SD 106 fewer utilization d/mo), and a halted increase in the utilization of anti-pressure ulcer mattresses. In addition, nurses who used the web portal reported shorter ordering times for wheelchairs (-2.7 min) and anti-pressure ulcer mattresses (-3.1 min), as well as shorter delivery times for wheelchairs (-0.5 d). Moreover, an increase in device certification was reported (average score of 1.9, SD 1.0), indicating higher levels of safety and hygiene standards. In theory, these improvements should translate into better outcomes in terms of costs and the quality of care. However, we were unable to establish a reduction in total care costs or a reduced rental time per device. Furthermore, respondents did not identify improvements in safety or the quality of care. Although implementation challenges related to the diverse supply base and complexities with different care financers were observed, the overall implementation of the intervention was considered successful.

CONCLUSIONS: This study confirms the feasibility of our intervention, in terms of acceptability, implementation success, and preliminary efficacy. The integrated management of medical devices should enable a reduction in costs, required devices, and material waste, as well as higher quality care. However, several challenges remain related to the implementation of such interventions.

Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's15
TijdschriftInteractive journal of medical research
StatusPublished - 19-sep.-2023

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