Intermountain's AI system helps surgeons reduce costs, improve outcomes

Angie Stewart -   Print  |

David Skarda, MD, is leading the development of an artificial intelligence-driven surgical care process meant to improve outcomes and lower costs for total knee replacement patients at Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare, Fox 13 Salt Lake City reported Oct. 12.

What you should know:

1. Dr. Skarda partnered with Intermountain-founded analytics company Empiric Health to develop analytics initiatives for improving surgical quality and costs.

2. Intermountain analyzes anything associated with the cost of care from 30 days preoperative to 90 days postoperative, including supply data and claims, in two procedure categories. It aims to eventually use the tool in other procedure areas.

3. For knee replacement cases, the analysis covers the cost of devices, medications, imaging, physical therapy and complications over the 120-day period.

4. If a device is slightly more expensive but leads to fewer complications and faster recovery, the AI system will recognize it as a better value despite the cost.

5. The system generates reports showing surgeons where they can reduce costs and how their outcomes compare to those of their peers, empowering them to make more informed decisions.

6. The AI tool is projected to help Intermountain save more than $8 million during the fiscal year.

"In the past, most health systems would save money by cutting out devices or procedures that cost the most," said Dr. Skarda, who serves as medical director of Intermountain's Center for Value-Based Surgery. "By analyzing total medical costs over 120 days, we get a clearer picture of what gives us the best surgical outcomes, which also tends to lower the total cost of care."

More articles on devices:
Stryker launches lateral access spine surgery system
Medtronic launches 3D-printed cage featuring Titan Spine's nanoLock
Aurora Spine receives patent for bone density-matching implant

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