Extensive CRM Device Data Added to Gold-Standard GIC Catalog

Extensive CRM Device Data Added to Gold-Standard GIC Catalog

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Author: Nancy Stimson, RN, PMP | Curvo VP of Clinical Analytics

If you’ve ever used the generic implant classification (GIC) system for orthopedics contracts and other sourcing research, you know you’ll find all the data you need to understand and align orthopedics pricing. This system has stood the test of time due to the depth and multidimensional nature of its information. Organizing and updating data at this level requires expertise and diligence. It’s hard work to maintain a robust database like this, but it’s our mission.

Initially designed for hip and knee implants, GIC was then expanded to shoulder and spinal implants, as well as disposable products used within these cases. Now, following another major update, the gold standard GIC catalog includes cardiac rhythm management (CRM) data.

Cath Labs Gain Visibility into CRM Data for Sourcing

The new CRM GIC classifications are good news for any facility with a cath lab (which is most of them). Ten years ago, CRM device purchases made up approximately one third of the total cost of supplies and implantable devices used in a complex cath lab. That number has only grown, and many health systems frequently conduct these major sourcing events.

The CRM industry is dominated by three large players – Medtronic, Abbott Cardiovascular and Boston Scientific. Other than physician preference, there's not a lot of difference clinically between CRM devices, and analysts and sourcing professionals can now accurately compare prices for similar items with data in standardized formats. It's up to providers and suppliers to determine if a device is truly something different and worth a premium.

CRM products now covered in the GIC include:

  • Permanent pacemakers
  • Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs)
  • Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT-D or CRT-P) devices
  • Implantable loop recorders

Finding a More Successful Approach to CRM Contracting

Multiple stakeholders are involved in CRM contracts, and their support is key to standardization and success. Physician engagement is critical, as they ultimately decide which CRM device to use. Frequently physicians are unaware of price differences, and this critical data is not factored into the decision making process.

Packaging adds to CRM contracting complexity. The actual device and the connecting leads may be sold together as a “system” or sold separately using line item pricing.

The new classifications will help supply chain teams build better CRM pricing strategies by allowing users to:

  • Quickly search and navigate voluminous data.
  • Accurately evaluate products across suppliers and facilities.
  • Easily compare specific products to reduce variations.

Prioritize and Accelerate CRM Contracting Strategies

The CRM devices market hit $19.7B in 2022 and is projected to reach $36.2B USD by 2032. Healthcare systems spend a significant amount of money on CRM devices, making it one of the expensive “home run” categories, meaning high spend and high savings. Savings could be in the millions depending on product volume.

Owing to the labor-intensive nature of sourcing events, most supply chain teams look to home-run categories like total joints and CRM for savings advantages. Improving efficiencies through the data provided by the CRM GICs accelerates contracting and creates more bandwidth for additional sourcing events and other important work.

Typical CRM contracting strategies include:

  • Capitated or System Pricing
  • Rebates for market share or sales
  • Volume based pricing discounts
  • Limiting vendors

Having accurate, comprehensive data is essential to making the best possible decisions regarding contracting strategies in general.

Capture More Savings Opportunities in CRM Contracts

A variety of ways in which health systems can capture more savings opportunities in their CRM contracts through use of the CRM GIC’s includes:

  • Consolidation of existing CRM volume
  • Prioritization of the most promising opportunities by making true device comparisons
  • Gaining clinician buy-in with credible, data-driven scenarios
  • Taking advantage of categories with high savings potential

Hospitals can use the CRM GIC to optimize their price points for relevant items in the categories. They are able to compare like items, see volumes of items used and level-set across suppliers. Showing an understanding of supplies within various categories is essential to speaking the same language as suppliers and gives more credibility to the supply chain team. For example, the CRM GIC’s contribute to understanding the differences and similarities of pacemakers, defibrillators, cardiac rhythm therapy and sheaths/guidewires.

GIC Brings Multidimensional Views to CRM Category

Users can expect the same consistency and depth in the CRM specifications as they’ve come to expect from other GIC categories. Compared to the UNSPSC or GMDN systems, which do not easily accommodate product specificity, multidimensional GIC is ideal for classifying complex clinical products. Drawing on over 30 years of data and experience, the GIC system remains deep and comprehensive, with over one million parts and 1,000+ suppliers. Keeping up with such a robust database is no small feat and takes ongoing effort by data and clinical experts.

Classification System that Evolves with New Medical Devices

Classifications are regularly reviewed, adjusted and updated to maintain quality. Its multidimensional nature offers various levels of classifications, and components can also be subclassified to add further specificity. Each component is assigned a GIC code, and icons create visual links to the product or device. GICs are also very specific in their numerical codes, and when needed, the major materials of devices are labeled as two-digit codes. Component sizes are also recorded when relevant.

Clinicians and the data team collaborates to get the new, detailed CRM classifications in place. The iterative process provides for ongoing feedback and quality assurance. The complete line item review accounts for variation within the offerings, especially related to terminology and naming conventions.

Overall, these logical groupings make it easier for supply chain teams to reliably obtain necessary data to build and evaluate CRM pricing strategies. The data team made sure these variations were calibrated across these areas and others:

  • Manufacturers
  • Brands
  • Product lines
  • Parts
  • Type 1 and Type 2 GICs (further evaluation of use or material of a specific part)

Other Resources on Medical Device Classification

Orthopedic Network News (ONN) is a great resource for further reading on this topic, with quarterly issues on trends in spine, trauma, hips and knees and extremities.

You can also try our Lookup tool with a two-week free trial, which allows supply chain and value analysis teams to research clinical products by GIC. For further reading on medical device classification, we recommend these articles: