A Review of Procedure Packs

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A look at seven companies' pack offerings.


At one time, surgical packs were thought to be a luxury; surgical personnel often found it simpler and less costly to order individual supplies and pull them together as needed. But to handle expanding case volumes and the pace at which surgery is done in today's busy facilities, it's become far more practical and sometimes more cost-effective to order supplies in pre-configured packs. Several companies offer surgical packs; in this article we'll take a look at six of them and highlight some of the special services each company offers to help you choose which one may be right for your facility.

Customized control
Allegiance, a Cardinal Health company, offers a unique way to ensure that you get exactly what you order in your customized procedure packs. Through a Web-based program called Pack Manager, you can assemble packs online and make changes in either their content or configuration. The company will videotape how a particular pack is assembled so that you can see all the steps involved; a copy of the tape is also kept on the assembly line so that workers can refer to it while they are putting the packs together. The company also offers a line of pre-configured standard packs, which contain drapes, gowns, tubing, basins and other basic supplies.

DeRoyal also offers a variety of standard packs as well as customized packs, which are called Custom Procedure Trays. You can virtually assemble and view your Custom Procedure Trays using DeRoyal's CPT optimizer, a web-based program that allows you to build new trays, modify existing trays, get quotes on individual tray components, calculate the cost effects if you substitute items in a tray and several other features. DeRoyal guarantees that all items in their packs are latex free; if they cannot find a latex-free substitute for a product, they will package the item outside the tray without putting it inside.

For your eyes only
Many companies offer ophthalmic packs, but for your most particular eye surgeons, you may want to go with Alcon, which specializes in eye surgery. The company offers PikPaks and Custom Paks, which can contain supplies for cataract, vitreoretinal or refractive procedures. Custom Paks contain everything necessary for a particular procedure, and you can specify if the pack should contain Alcon products or products from another manufacturer. PikPaks are more specialized mini-packs, which contain items that a particular surgeon prefers, including knives, eye spears, viscoelastic and surgical gloves. PikPaks are only composed of Alcon products. Alcon develops computer renderings of every single pack to ensure that they are complete and everything is packed in the same way. They will also forecast the number of packs your facility is likely to need based on your case volume and maintain enough packs in inventory so you know you'll have what you need. If a surgeon changes his technique and needs to alter the pack, however, Alcon says that they can ship the new packs about three times faster than other companies.

Procedure Packs At-a-Glance

Alcon
(800) 832-7827
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Custom Paks contain supplies for a variety of ophthalmic procedures.

Maxxim Medical
(800) 346-8849
www.maxxim-medical.com
The surgical division specializes in custom trays; reps have at least 5 years experience.

Allegiance
(800) 964-5227
www.allegiance-healthcare.com
A Web-based program called Pack Manager lets customers assemble packs online.

Medline
(800) MEDLINE
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All Medline packs are sterilized using a 10[-6] sterility assurance level; the FDA requires a level of 10[-3].

DeRoyal
(800) 251-9864
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DeRoyal's CPT Optimizer program lets you build, modify and get quotes on custom packs online.

Professional Hospital Supply
(909) 296-2600
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Before assembling any PHS pack, each item is thoroughly check for defects.

Kimberly-Clark
(800) 524-3577
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Custom packs on consignment
Medline, which provides surgical packs for all HealthSouth surgery facilities, offers 70 different kinds of standard trays and has created more than 7,000 different customized procedure packs using products from virtually any manufacturer. The company points to its assembly process as an indicator of its high level of quality: once the packs are assembled, they are sterilized using a 10-6 sterility assurance level; the level required by the FDA is only 10-3. The company will also sell packs on consignment, so you only pay for what you use.

No surprises, no substitutions
Like other pack companies, Professional Hospital Supply assembles custom packs for a variety of surgical procedures. Unlike many companies, however, PHS does not manufacture any components, and they claim that this allows them to get better deals and better service from component makers. Before being put in the pack, a member of the PHS team inspects each item for tears, stains or other defects. The company also makes packs in small batches to ensure accuracy and completeness. PHS does manufacture some standard packs, but most of their packs are customized for facilities. "No surprises and no substitutions" is their motto, so customers can be certain that they will get exactly what they ordered.

Setting a standard
It's not always possible, but if you can standardize what you put in packs, it often pays to do so. Kimberly-Clark offers 80 standard packs in many categories, including orthopedic, ophthalmic, laparoscopic and general. The packs contain the drapes and gowns the company is known for, including, for example, the Ultra brand gowns and the Orthoarts specialized orthopedic drapes.

If you elect to go with custom packs, advice from an experienced company can be invaluable. Maxxim Medical, whose surgical division specializes in custom trays, has sales reps who can serve as consultants to make sure your pack program is successful and serve as a point person for any questions or concerns. Each rep has at least five years experience in the health care industry, and some have up to 25 years experience. The company also manufactures some standard trays, gloves, gowns and tubing.

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