ECRI Creates Ebola Price Index for PPE, Asks Hospitals to Engage in Crowdsourcing of Pricing Data

The recent Ebola crisis has challenged the healthcare community to step up its preparedness for managing new cases of Ebola and other high-risk infectious diseases. As a free public service, ECRI Institute, an independent nonprofit that researches best approaches to improving patient safety, has established and continues to develop an Ebola Resource Center with ECRI-authored guidance on risk and patient safety, technology management, and important pricing data.

The ECRI Institute Ebola PPE Price Index, a central feature of the site, is a benchmark database of prices paid for personal protective equipment (PPE). The Index includes PPE products in nine key categories with manufacturer make and model, and low, average and high prices paid. Initial pricing data comes directly from members of ECRI Institute's PriceGuide™, an advisory service for the procurement of medical/surgical supplies and implants. The Index will be updated as more hospitals—members and nonmembers—contribute additional pricing data.

“The Ebola PPE Price Index provides a free benchmarking service that hospitals can use now, and importantly, it establishes a mechanism to create a crowdsourced, ongoing resource for pricing,” says Jeffrey C. Lerner, PhD, president and chief executive officer of ECRI Institute. “Pricing transparency can help forestall potentially excessive price rises for PPE if demand grows,” adds Lerner.

“Our first step in creating the index was to reach out to manufacturers of protective personal equipment and ask them for their list of recommended products for Ebola,” says Timothy Browne, director of PriceGuide for ECRI Institute. “This is the first time we’ve released such a comprehensive list of products and prices outside of the scope of our PriceGuide membership.”

Hospitals are encouraged to participate in ECRI Institute’s crowdsourcing effort to create a robust, reliable, and free resource—a significant contribution to help keep prices in the appropriate range. Details on submitting data are available on the website.

In addition to the pricing data, the Ebola Resource Center includes research, publications, and tools to help healthcare organizations protect healthcare workers as well as patients. Sample documents include training resources on blood-borne pathogens, occupational exposure to blood or body fluids, and sharps safety. An FAQ section, contributed by ECRI Institute’s engineering group, provides answers to many technology-related questions posed by member facilities. In a few weeks, they will post the results of a nationwide survey of biomedical and clinical engineers related to their readiness to manage the technology aspects in treating Ebola patients.

The Ebola Resource Center website also links to guidelines from Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and Doctors without Borders.

Source: ECRI Institute

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