If you think late loaners are a problem now, just wait until the ASC’s get rolling. In 2016, it was estimated that over half of the total joint replacements would be in the outpatient setting by 2026. That’s before a pandemic forced the shutdown of elective procedures at the hospital and jumpstarted surgeons into having to quickly adapt to the outpatient setting. Ultimately, this means more facilities, requiring more implants, instrumentation, and coordination.
From the hospital’s perspective, the easiest solution to this would be for the manufacturer to invest in more instrumentation and implants. Reps share in this sentiment as they don’t want to be lugging equipment all over. Unfortunately, as manufacturers are already getting beat up on the price of their implants, it’s unlikely they’ll be eager to further cut into their margin by increasing inventory.
Ideally, manufacturers would have foreseen this inevitability and invested more into optimizing their own supply chain and logistics; but that hasn’t happened either. Many manufacturers still lack a comprehensive digital tracking system of their own, still relying on spreadsheets and whiteboards to manage their logistics.
So, what can hospitals and/or reps do to better prepare for continued strain on their resources? Don’t rely on the manufacturer or hospital to do it for you. Proactively evaluate your own situation and coordinate for your needs. The more data and cost analysis you have, the better. Ask yourself:
How many loaner cases are required and how many trays does that equate to?
Who are the surgeons responsible for the most loaners?
What is my consigned vs loaned ratio?
Once you have the data, review the trends with your rep or hospital and discuss management. In many cases, just the practice of tracking this information can have a positive impact.