Healthcare News & Insights

Keys to making impactful capital investments for your hospital

In today’s healthcare landscape, it’s imperative capital decision makers are able to point toward clinically proven results to justify crucial purchases for their hospitals. In this guest post, Dr. Linda Greer, medical director at a breast health and research center, details the criteria you need to consider when making a purchasing decisions.

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The market is brimming with an overwhelming number of manufacturers making a number of product claims – many of which can be misleading – and it can be difficult to weed through product promises to determine which benefits should be prioritized. There are a number of criteria to consider when making purchasing decisions for your breast screening and diagnostics departments.

As a medical director and radiologist, I’ve seen firsthand just how important these factors are – for hospital systems, clinicians and most importantly, the patients.

While increased imaging accuracy is arguably the most important factor in the early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer, it can be difficult to determine which manufacturers, most of which claim to provide “better image quality,” have the clinically proven results to back up those promises.

Clinical proof

In order to make a confident and sound decision, look past the distracting, flashy headlines and dive deep into the clinical proof, if it exists. Ask hard-hitting questions about whether the accuracy claims have been thoroughly tested and proven, and if clinical evidence is readily available to support each and every statement about early detection and callback rates.

Encourage your colleagues to challenge the manufacturers’ expertise in breast density and whether their products have proven performance records for all women, including the almost-50% of the population with dense breast tissue. By doing so, you’ll be confident the product promises and claims that initially caught your eye are truly rooted in science.

After verifying the validity of product promises, hospital administrators need to hone in on exactly what benefits each manufacturer is touting to determine the real differentiators they bring to the table, if any. While it’s widely known that mammograms are certainly not a pleasant experience for women, I always warn my colleagues to be wary of manufacturers that seem to prioritize patient comfort over increased accuracy.

While improvements to the patient experience are certainly welcomed ones, manufacturers should first and foremost lead with image-quality and accuracy. For instance, the idea of patient-controlled comfort is incredibly unnerving for me, as the ability to achieve adequate compression is absolutely vital to generate clear results. Putting patients in control of this element of the procedure can and will lead to substantial compromises when it comes to workflow efficiencies and certainly detracts from the skilled work of  technologists.

When detecting small, subtle breast abnormalities can mean the difference between a lumpectomy and mastectomy, it’s important to recognize that physical comfort is nice to have, but knowing your system has the most accurate mammogram on the market far outweighs a brief, less-than-pleasant experience. And virtually all of my patients have always been frank with me on this front – they want to be sure the equipment we use will detect any cancer. If that process can be made more physically appealing to them, they’re all ears, but if it comes with decreased accuracy, they’re not.

Challenging manufacturers to prove their product will allow physicians to achieve acceptable compression to produce accurate results is key. Prioritizing a more comfortable exam and putting accuracy on the back burner is a red flag, and one that can have a negative impact on the system as a whole, and patient results.

Weigh reputation

Once the claims of the trusted manufacturers have been analyzed, zero in on their reputations. While it may be enticing to align your health system or hospital with a well-established manufacturer, it’s important to weigh their reputation with a specific modality to ensure they’re established in the breast imaging industry, specifically.

The reliability that comes with partnering with a manufacturer that’s laser-focused on women’s health and breast health is unparalleled. By working alongside a pioneer in the breast imaging industry, purchasers can feel confident that they’ve chosen a seasoned partner that’s not only committed to advancing patient care, but is also capable of supporting their hospital systems through service and technology upgrades.

In this same vein, during the final stages of the decision-making process, purchasers familiarize themselves with how manufacturers operate post-sale to ensure the purchase has a positive impact on the hospitals’ bottom line. Manufacturers should offer proof that their product will provide a boost to the purchaser, and build enough patient demand to warrant a substantial investment.

To facilitate a smooth transition, manufacturers should also have concrete examples and a strong track record from current and past customers of successful installs and solutions. This allows purchasers to feel confident in their decisions, and ensure their radiologists they have the best tools on hand to care for their patients.

When making a substantial capital purchase, it’s important to familiarize yourself with all breast screening options before coming to any conclusions. Prioritizing a partner that’s a seasoned and trusted leader in women’s health, a leader in clinically proven innovation and technology, and a leader in customer satisfaction and care is absolutely crucial. By doing so, you’re cultivating trusting patients, confident clinicians and an efficient hospital.

Dr. Linda Greer is the medical director at HonorHealth Breast Health and Research Center in Phoenix, AZ.

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