Letters Feedback on orthopaedic devices

ArthroplastyWatch—beyond borders, beyond compliance

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f1013 (Published 19 February 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1013
  1. Lars Lidgren, professor of orthopaedics1,
  2. Ann Alriksson-Schmidt, research coordinator1,
  3. Jonas Ranstam, professor of medical statistics1
  1. 1Lund University, Department of Orthopaedics, University Hospital, SE-221 85 Lund, Sweden
  1. lars.lidgren{at}med.lu.se

It is now clear that national regulatory and professional bodies do not pay due attention to unfavourable or negative results regarding specific devices, new surgical techniques, and treatments.1 As a result, action is delayed. Communication of adverse events or product recalls does not travel well across borders. Worse still, it can take months or even years before practising surgeons learn about statements issued by professional societies in other countries.2 Sometimes, the media provide the most active source of information for worried patients and doctors.

The notion that a patient’s health is put at risk when information is not shared appropriately across countries is not new.3 The BMJ has emphasised the lack of transnational coordination and the need for an independent alert system.4 A recent Food and Drug Administration publication highlighted the need to gather information from a large number of global sources and establish new feasible ways of reaching out.5

The National Musculoskeletal Competence Centre in Lund, Sweden—founded by the Swedish government—has initiated a large scale project called “ArthroplastyWatch.” This project aims to reach out to patients, professionals, and authorities and address the lack of fast, accurate, reliable, and easily accessible information on orthopaedic devices. Medical, statistical, and programming expertise is built into the screening process. An operational team has been established in Lund and an advisory board representing major professional organisations and leading orthopaedic centres has been established. The service was launched on 1 February 2013 (http://ArthroplastyWatch.com). To start, ArthroplastyWatch will be based on information from national governments, medical companies, quality register reports, health authorities, PubMed, professional societies, patient organisations, notifying bodies, and major health newsfeeds.


Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1013