Making Bundled Payments Work: For our Partners and their Patients


Tue Mar 29 13:00:00 CDT 2016
Jenifer Levinson
Vice President of Health Policy, Reimbursement and Payer Solutions, Minimally Invasive Therapies Group, Medtronic

Bundled payments are the new trend in healthcare — but they’re hardly new.

For many years, we have collaborated with our provider partners as they’ve dipped their toes into this model.


We know that bundled payments can reduce the cost curve and improve quality of care. But thanks to a recent mandate by CMS, everyone has begun to take more notice. The CMS mandate on total knee and total hip replacements signals that market forces are going to drive business models from now on.


Our response to this change doesn’t start with a focus on the product, but rather with identifying the key problems facing a provider. We mine big data sets — including benchmark data from Medicare and private payers — and do deep dives into the provider’s own data to wrap a solution around the biggest pain points.


We help providers identify problems and spot opportunities, with root-cause analyses and detailed research. This lets us customize products and services to specific needs, service lines and desired outcomes.


For example, in an orthopedic service line, we can study patient outcomes and pinpoint unexplained variation, finding where we can improve quality. Perhaps it’s as simple as standardizing supplies in the OR. Maybe our analysis can help determine which opioids are causing complications. Recommending a specific respiratory monitoring device or compression after surgery can also mean better outcomes, particularly combined with customized protocols for discharge planning and coordination with post-acute care providers.


A medical device company should be more than just a supplier — your partners should provide services that let patients complete their journey to wellness safely, effectively and efficiently.


The era of value-based healthcare is an approaching tidal wave — we all need partners with the experience and knowledge to make bundled payments work for providers and patients.


Jenifer Levinson is Vice President of Health Policy, Reimbursement and Payer Solutions for the Minimally Invasive Therapies Group at Medtronic.