Track the use of artificial joints in a national database. Heck, add all artificial parts to the database.
The cost would be minimal, a rounding error in the scheme of things. Track what happens to the patients who get these parts, so we can identify problems and fix them, or at least be aware of the dangers.
Australia, Britain, Norway and Sweden are just some of the countries with such databases. Why aren't we one?
I know all the excuses. But we don't need the government here. An industry trade group like AdvaMed could have this going in a few months.
Tag the parts. Send out notices to surgery centers. If we can expect consumers to fill out warrantee cards, can't we find nurses who will take care of this online paperwork?
Now, give the patient's doctor a Web page where he (or she) and their successors can add tracking data over time. Give the patient a card telling them what you are doing to help them.
Then imagine the benefits, the publicity to the trade group, the valuable data to the manufacturers, and all the commercials you can do about how wonderfully responsible you are.