How University of Chicago Medicine Improved Costs with Product Standardization


Tue Mar 29 13:00:30 CDT 2016

The University of Chicago Medicine (UCM), an academic medical center based in Hyde Park on the campus of the University of Chicago, offers the full range of specialty and primary care services for adults and children. It includes the Center for Care and Discovery, Comer Children’s Hospital, Bernard A. Mitchell Hospital for adult inpatient care, Chicago Lying-in Hospital, and the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine. UCM also has outpatient locations throughout the Chicago area. University of Chicago Medicine physicians are members of the University of Chicago Physicians Group, which includes more than 700 physicians and covers the full array of medical and surgical specialties. Its physicians are faculty members of the Pritzker School of Medicine.


As part of its ongoing efforts to reduce supply costs, UCM began an initiative to evaluate the wide variety of surgical mesh products used throughout its hospital system. The objectives were twofold: First, increase acceptance of a product line that would best represent the performance attributes valued by surgeons across the UCM system. Second, aggregate UCM’s mesh spend and consolidate SKU’s by sourcing the bulk of mesh purchases with one cost efficient product line that would demonstrate consistently excellent patient outcomes.


To justify a goal of moving to a standardized suite of hernia mesh products, the hospital system began an internal evaluation and comparison on surgeons’ usage of synthetic mesh for laparoscopic and open inguinal, ventral and incisional hernia repairs.

Case data revealed that the highest volume of synthetic mesh usage was coming from general surgeons performing hernia procedures. After evaluating the features and benefits of various alternatives, UCM selected Covidien’s synthetic mesh products for an internal clinical trial.

Over a six month period, surgeons used Covidien’s synthetic mesh in a variety of abdominal hernia procedures and provided feedback on clinical observations, ease of product use, performance and patient outcomes. The hospital worked closely with the company representative to document cases in which Covidien’s Parietex ProGrip™ synthetic mesh was utilized in open, incisional hernia procedures.

As a result of collaborative discussion with Covidien representatives during the trial period, many surgeons switched from open to laparoscopic inguinal hernia repairs using Covidien’s Parietex ProGrip™ laparoscopic mesh. This reduced procedure time by fifteen minutes and often eliminated the need for the fixation devices required with other mesh products. In addition, patients seemed to have far less post- operative pain upon initial follow up in the clinic.


Constant contact with Covidien Hernia Representative Lindsay Muller, excellent feedback from surgeons during the clinical trial and documented cost savings reinforced UCM’s goal to standardize 80 percent of its synthetic mesh supply with Covidien.

Based on the clinical trial and a detailed evaluation by the hospital system’s product validation committee, UCM hernia initiatives have saved more than $37,000 on its synthetic mesh purchases since January 2013. Additionally, Covidien’s ProGrip™ laparoscopic self-fixating mesh, which can eliminate the need for tacking devices, is projected to save the hospital over $35,000 per year based on data captured during the trial period.

“UCM has a rigorous and thorough product evaluation process,” said Bryan Coyne, Hernia Regional Manager. “Doctors who want to bring a product into the system for trial use must justify their proposal with a complete analysis to the hospital system’s Operative Product Evaluation (OPEC) committee (a cross functional team of surgeons and administrators that reviews and approves new product requests and discusses trial feedback to ensure that policies and procedures are followed.) The physician must outline the proposed product’s cost, features and clinical benefits. During UCM’s trial of our synthetic mesh, it was the Covidien team’s job to know how surgeons were previously using other mesh brands and work with them as they utilized our synthetic mesh in both open and laparoscopic procedures, track experiences and document outcomes. Based on the data we collected, we met with UCM’s supply chain management team and projected a year’s mesh usage for the hospital’s business review.

UCM is a very progressive system, and we uncovered their potential desire to standardize on synthetic mesh during one of our quarterly business reviews,” said Kelly Burns-Mack, Director Strategic Accounts, Covidien Surgical Solutions. “While UCM is committed to Covidien’s endomechanical, suture and energy products, it was our ability to coordinate the work of all our business units at UCM that allowed the mesh opportunity to be discovered. By providing UCM one efficient point of contact for these products, we’ve moved our relationship with the hospital from vendor to committed partner across the four lines.”

“The University of Chicago Medicine is at forefront of hernia repair technology, so we demand the best products available,” said Ian O’Malley, MSSCM, UCM Sourcing Category Leader, Supply Chain. “Having Covidien as a strategic partner benefits UCM on various levels. Their hernia products are meeting and exceeding our requirements. Their introduction of a Laparoscopic Progrip™ product allowed us to first and foremost increase our level of patient care while reducing OR time and material costs. Covidien’s contracting structure enabled us to quickly get products into surgeons’ hands. They are actively putting our institution at the forefront of mesh technology. It’s a winning situation on all levels.”