House Bill Would Create Artificial Joints Registry

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Two House Democrats introduced a bill Wednesday to create a national database of patients who received artificial hips and knees, a system already used in some other countries to track how patients fare, reduce unnecessary surgeries and weed out inferior products.

The bill, co-sponsored by Bill Pascrell Jr. of New Jersey and Lloyd Doggett of Texas, would establish a government-backed registry to track patients’ results over time and help detect ineffective surgical practices and faulty devices.

Patient registries, in areas like orthopedics, are expected to play an important role in “comparative effectiveness” reviews that the Obama administration hopes will help identify which medical procedures and products work best.

“I think it will improve patient safety and outcomes and get rid of poorly performing devices,” said Representative Pascrell.

Makers of artificial joints and a professional association of surgeons who use them say that they support the idea of such a registry. But they said they were working to create one outside of government and argue that it could be more effective than the legislative proposal.

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