Exploring unique device identifier implementation and use for real-world evidence: A mixed-methods study with NESTcc health system network collaborators

Sanket S. Dhruva, Jennifer L. Ridgeway, Joseph S. Ross, Joseph P. Drozda, Natalia A. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives To examine the current state of unique device identifier (UDI) implementation, including barriers and facilitators, among eight health systems participating in a research network committed to real-world evidence (RWE) generation for medical devices. Design Mixed methods, including a structured survey and semistructured interviews. Setting Eight health systems participating in the National Evaluation System for health Technology research network within the USA. Participants Individuals identified as being involved in or knowledgeable about UDI implementation or medical device identification from supply chain, information technology and high-volume procedural area(s) in their health system. Main outcomes measures Interview topics were related to UDI implementation, including barriers and facilitators; UDI use; benefits of UDI adoption; and vision for UDI implementation. Data were analysed using directed content analysis, drawing on prior conceptual models of UDI implementation and the Exploration, Preparation, Implementation, Sustainment framework. A brief survey of health system characteristics and scope of UDI implementation was also conducted. Results Thirty-five individuals completed interviews. Three of eight health systems reported having implemented UDI. Themes identified about barriers and facilitators to UDI implementation included knowledge of the UDI and its benefits among decision-makers; organisational systems, culture and networks that support technology and workflow changes; and external factors such as policy mandates and technology. A final theme focused on the availability of UDIs for RWE; lack of availability significantly hindered RWE studies on medical devices. Conclusions UDI adoption within health systems requires knowledge of and impetus to achieve operational and clinical benefits. These are necessary to support UDI availability for medical device safety and effectiveness studies and RWE generation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA8
JournalBMJ Surgery, Interventions, and Health Technologies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 23 2023


  • Device Evaluation
  • Devices
  • Process Assessment (Health Care)
  • Real World Evidence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Biomedical Engineering


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