April 27, 2006

Devicemakers have expressed concern about cost-containment initiatives by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS), and are thought by some experts to be resistant to long-term solutions to controlling healthcare costs.

But at least one device company is already ahead of the curve on cost-effectiveness. Devicemaker Siemens has teamed with Alegent Health in Omaha, Neb., to implement a forward-thinking cost management strategy.

Alegent is pleased with the partnership. "We are looking at standardization of processes, including overall workflow and the amount of training required for personnel," Alegent chief information officer Ken Lawonn told FDAnews.

"Four years ago, we signed an agreement with Siemens to standardize diagnostic equipment to gain efficiencies in acquisition and cost," said Lawonn."One of the reasons we went with Siemens is because their diagnostic technology allows them to operate across multiple modalities."

"We knew if we had consistent utilization standards, devices would be easier for staff to use," saving overall costs, he said. "We have an agreement with our vendors that allows us to receive additional discounting because of our compliance."

We saw that we could achieve efficiencies with Siemens because of the graphical interface they had developed for their systems, Lawonn explained. "Their MRI tech stations and cameras had a similar look and feel, making it easier for clinical technicians to use the technology without having to retrain on a different style of device."