News | October 01, 2006

Provider-Funded Research Evaluates Technology

A new, private research group, the Center for Medical Technology Policy is being formed to provide healthcare clinicians, payers and policymakers with evidence on the effectiveness and safety of emerging surgical procedures, medical devices, diagnostics and biopharmaceuticals, according to a report.

Launched in January with a $495,000 grant from the California HealthCare Foundation, the Center is being managed by the Health Technology Center, or HealthTech, a San Francisco-based research and education group. A $410,000 grant from Blue Shield of California will be used, in part, to help the center coordinate with other evidence-based medicine projects, including the foundation's own California Technology Assessment Forum.

Research will focus on “real world" outcomes not typically measured in clinical trials, such as quality of life, utilization rates and cost efficiency, officials said.

Potential areas of study include minimally invasive bariatric surgery, intensity modulated radiation therapy and remote monitoring of intensive-care units, all of which have been rapidly adopted by providers in recent years.

Some industry observers, however, are questioning the objectivity of the center's research activities. A spokeswoman for the Advanced Medical Technology Association says that while the trade group endorses evidence-based medicine, basing coverage decisions on such research alone is inadvisable.

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