Monthly Archive for January, 2009

AAAS To Hold Session About Reinstating OTA

Science advice for Congress: Do we need a new paradigm?

Rush Holt, (D-NJ), U.S. House of Representatives:

Reinstating the Office of Technology Assessment: A View from Congress”

Christopher Hill, George Mason University:

Science and Technology Information for Congress: Can Wikipedia Do the Job?”

David Goldston, Harvard University:

“Alternatives for Providing Reliable Technical Advice to Congress”

DISCUSSANT: Granger Morgan, Carnegie Mellon University

MODERATOR: Gerald L. Epstein, Center for Strategic & International Studies

Congress faces policy decisions that often hinge on complex technical content. At the same time, lawmakers are deluged with scientific information of widely disparate quality and have little in-house ability to evaluate it. The Congressional Office of Technology Assessment provided rigorous, bipartisan, scientific and technological advice to Congress for nearly two decades before being eliminated in 1995. This session will focus on how to effectively place scientific and technical information into a policy context, analyze it, and communicate it to policy makers and the public.

At the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS),

Saturday, February 14, 2009, 8:30AM-10:00AM

Hyatt Regency, Columbus Room AB, 151 East Wacker Drive, Chicago, Illinois

For further information, please contact the organizers:

Tony Fainberg, Institute for Defense Analyses; ([email protected])

Gerald L. Epstein, Center for Strategic and International Studies; ([email protected])

Health Reform from Transition Central

A Health Reformer’s Online Diary | Ken Terry | November 17, 2008

A blog post suggests that  the U.S. healthcare system can improved by organizing providers,  improving quality,  reforming reimbursements, and researching cost-effectiveness.

As to cost-effectiveness research, Health Reformer says,  “…. have Medicare look not only at the clinical effectiveness of tests and treatments, but also at their cost-effectiveness–an idea that has been banished from American political discourse since the demise of the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment in the early ‘90s.”

You can check out several excellent reports on the cost-effectiveness of health care from the OTA archive:

1994 report, Identifying Health Technologies that Work – Searching for Evidence,  is a comprehensive update about what works.   Chapter 6, a history of the federal role in health technology assessment, may be of current interest.

A 1988 report, The Quality of Medical Care: Information for Consumers,  is a great compendium on how medical care can be evaluated.  It combines a conceptual framework,  dimensions to consider, and an analysis of possible indicators of the quality of care provided by physicians and hospitals.

A 1986 report, Payment for Physician Services: Strategies for Medicare, lays out a relevant process for analyzing how we pay for heathcare (even though the policy context is dated).  It evaluates some innovative payment methods, for example, bundling services into a package that is paid for at a flat rate or paying for a greater scope of services by capitation.