Spent a couple of days at British Orthopaedic Association Conference in Liverpool this week.
I have been attending meetings for both ODEP and Beyond Compliance which are 2 committees of specialists, data analysts, NHS purchasers and orthopaedic industry experts who meet to evaluate existing and new products used for joint replacements worldwide. The aim is to monitor the track record and safety of implants used in the UK but because of the success of the scheme we are getting numerous enquiries internationally.
Hip and Knee replacement implants are awarded an ODEP rating depending on the length of time they have been used, the number of patients that have received the implant, the success rate, the quality and accuracy of the data available on that implant. This enables patients, surgeons, and purchasers to be reassured that an implant used has been scrutinised by others and can allow them to look up quickly the rating for a product. In Cardiff particularly we strive to use the highest rated implants for our patients, having unfortunately been hoodwinked years ago by company claims about how a new implant would outperform existing products. This turned out not to be the case as after a few years, patients started experiencing pain and complications requiring repeat surgery.
To prevent a recurrence of this sort of episode, a further group called Beyond Compliance came into existence. This group analyses the risk of any new product intended to be launched to the UK market, and works with companies, surgeons and patients to monitor the results of the new product in a controlled manner, with small scale use initially by specially trained surgeons, intensive monitoring of data and results, regular feedback and analysis, and once we are happy that there are no safety issues, award of a rating, and more widespread release of the product in the market, and at the end of the day hopefully we are enabling patients to benefit from the highest rated and best quality products for operations that have been shown to be extremely succesfull time and time again.
This work is provided voluntarily by an enthusiastic group but is very rewarding as we get to meet specialists from different fields, share experiences, learn about manufacturing processes and materials way beyond the level of detail that is available otherwise, and ultimately the aim is that we can help patients receive the highest rated, most successful products for operations that have been shown to be extremely beneficial time and time again, whilst still allowing exciting innovation to occur.