he NHS Implant Analysis Service had its first public exhibition at this year’s HCSA conference where it was met with great interest by procurement teams and supply chain experts working across the NHS and wider healthcare sector.
The service is aimed at orthopaedic surgeons performing revisions on medical implants such as hip and knee replacements. These devices are often removed earlier than expected for a wide number of reasons, however most are thrown away immediately without further investigation. The NHS Implant Analysis Service provides a streamlined, independent route for these Used Medical Devices [UMD’s] to be sent to a specialist lab for expert physical analysis, with a report being issued within days to inform MDT discussion and help clinicians establish the cause of failure. The service offering includes storage for the UMD post-analysis for up to 5 years, plus a route for sustainable disposal rather than the landfill these devices are usually relegated to. The relevance for supply chain/procurement is clear – improved data enables better procurement, which leads to long-term cost-savings as well as the clear link to the sustainability agenda. It spoke volumes to the team that all delegates we spoke to thought this service was best practice and should already be happening!
To further unpack the service and highlight the key benefits, Jason Wilson, Medical Device Specialist, hosted a seminar at the event where he outlined the need for the service, other parts of the world where this approach has seen great success and the support the service has gained from regulators such as ODEP and Beyond Compliance. The evidence of other countries such as Australia shows that widespread physical analysis of UMD’s paints a much clearer picture of which devices perform better. This informs procurement and ultimately benefits patient safety by reducing the number of revisions required as only the best-performing devices are sourced and deployed by clinicians.
With UK regulators calling for such change, and surgeons themselves highlighting the need for such a service, the NHS Implant Analysis Service is a timely intervention in an industry that has to date lacked a robust, independent and frictionless option to get explanted medical devices from the operating room to a third party expert, with the report back in the surgeon’s hands in time to make a difference. The service garnered a great deal of interest from delegates at the HCSA conference and it is hoped that 2023 sees the UK orthopaedic sector take up the offer and make widespread physical analysis of UMD’s the new normal.