6. Personal interest. The biggest proponent of the device owns a piece of the technology. Myers recalls one case in which ECRI was called in to evaluate a purchase, and "physically test a cold pack on the market that used a powder. In our evaluation, however, we found that it was no better than the traditional cold pack, and it turned out that the physician pushing for this – and it was something as simple as a bag of (frozen) peas – owned part of the company."
7. Economics. "All these are window dressing for the real reason, which is economics," Kaufman tells me. "[Hospital leaders] believe [this technology] is going to attract more patients or more doctors, or they think in the long run it will reduce costs. That's the reason they're doing it."
Well, whatever the reason—be it pressure from whiny doctors or great deals—buying unnecessary technology also can be prevented. Myers says that by establishing a value analysis committee, including supply chain officials and hospital executives, as well as the doctors who want these technologies for a particular service line are on the panel, everyone considers the needs of the whole hospital, and that encourages a different perspective.
"It's a process that helps filter out the marketing fluff from the vendors," Myers says. "It helps hospitals and administrators have a third party referee that throws up the flag, and says wait a minute, this isn't a technology you should be investing in now."
Chantal Worzala, director of policy development for the American Hospital Association, notes that patients want innovation and technology. But she adds, "Many factors need to be considered when an investment decision is made," and that it's not always "a straight line process. I think folks will be looking at the ECRI report in the future to inform their decisions."