May 11, 2006

Being willing to adopt a new attitude toward reimbursement changes is crucial for the device industry, said experts at a May 3 industry conference.

"We can either maintain status quo, or start taking into account evidence and have a more sustainable spending regime that will make it easier for innovation," Murray Ross, director of health policy analysis and research at Kaiser Permanente's Institute for Health Policy, told attendees at the AdvaMed-sponsored conference in Baltimore, Md.

Evidence-based benefit design is "where a good chunk of the world wants to go," Ross said. This model is about shared decisionmaking, including good communication and explaining options, which will result in a reduction in low-value treatment options, he added.

"As a country we have unsustainable spending trends and quality is not what it should be," said Ross. "I'm a big fan of markets [because] they tend to drive costs down and quality up, but not in healthcare."

Technology assessment and health information technology are aimed at getting better evidence, Ross said. "There is a lot of interest in ehealth records, and as they come online they will expose safety problems and show us what is working and what is not." As this information spreads, good products will be rewarded and lower quality products will be marginalized, he said. "Ehealth is here. It's huge and it is going to have a major impact on industry," Ross said. ()a href="http://www.fdanews.com/ddl/33_19/" target=_blank>