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Efficiency and outcomes focus for NJR implant price benchmarking service

4 November 2014

The National Joint Registry (NJR) shared the findings of its award winning price benchmarking service with delegates at HQIP's Annual Conference this morning. The service offers NHS organisations the opportunity to benchmark their joint replacement data against key information on the cost of hip and knee implants as well as patient outcomes.

NJR Director of operations Elaine Young and NJR Steering Committee Orthopaedic surgeon Peter Howard talked to the successes of the pilot study that led to the national roll-out of the programme. Notably, that:

  • if all Trusts who took part in the pilot paid the average price for the surveyed implant components the annual saving across them would have been approximately £2 million and
  • if the best price was paid, the savings would have approached £8 million per year

Other key facts that roused delegates' interest were that:

  • in many cases, the prices paid did not have a significant relationship to the volumes used/purchased
  • in any single organisation, there was variation in the average price of implants used in primary hip and knee surgery across surgeons
  • the selection and usage of implants by an individual surgeon played a significant part in establishing the average price of implants for any particular unit

Elaine Young added: "This service is about driving improvements in the procurement of orthopaedic implants but importantly, its about ensuring that patients get the highest quality care whilst making the best possible use of available resources."

Closing the session, Peter Howard added: "These bespoke pricing reports will be of significant value to NHS providers and will serve to inform important dialogue between local procurement and clinical teams, and also across regional and national representatives."

The service is currently being rolled out nationally to NHS organisations and procurement teams and quality improvment professionals are encouraged to discuss and facilitate access to and use of the resources available to providers.

The pilot was delivered in partnership with the Department of Health's QIPP team.

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