Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess viewpoints of end-users concerning the purchasing process of high-risk medical devices and to discuss the relevance of health technology assessments (HTAs) at the hospital level and other potential areas for improvement of purchasing processes.
Methods: We used a cross-sectional study and assessed the attitudes and thoughts of orthopedic specialists. The study took place between June and October 2015 in Mexico.
Results: We collected data from 187 orthopedic surgeons. Involvement of orthopedic specialists in purchasing was reported by 86 percent. However, clinical practice was perceived as negatively influenced by purchasing outcomes by 92 percent. The problems were described as: material failure; effectiveness of medical devices; obsolete medical device technology; incomplete provision of implant / instrument sets; delayed provision of implants and instruments.
Conclusions: To prevent sub-standard outcomes of purchasing decisions, this study and the current literature suggest that technologies should be assessed during the purchasing process, end-users should be adequately involved, and decisions should be based on multiple criteria including clinical impact in the short-term (e.g., primary stability of implant) and long-term (e.g., survival of implant). The focus on Mexico is particularly novel and provides insights into a health system where HTA is mainly present at the macro level and can be used for the listing of medical device technologies in the standard list. This study concludes that Mexican stakeholders of the purchasing process underestimate the contribution of HTAs at the level of purchasing decisions. HTA in Mexico has improved over the past years but still requires more advancement.