Testimony on Comparative Effectiveness Research
Mark B. Leahy, Medical Device Manufacturers Association
Comment to the National Advisory Council, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, April 3, 2009
By Mark B. Leahy, President and CEO, Medical Device Manufacturers Association
Good morning. My name is Mark Leahy. I am president of the Medical Device Manufacturers Association (MDMA). We represent over 200 small to mid-sized medical technology companies. We are a small staff of four, and I wear many hats. Although the majority of my time is spent elsewhere, I am a registered lobbyist. I would like to thank the Council, Dr. Clancy, and the AHRQ staff for all of the effort that has gone into comparative effectiveness research. This is something that the MDMA supports. We think it is in the best interest of improving the quality of care for patients and also the delivery system. I want to echo some of the things that were stated. I think the work that is being done in technology assessment is great. I'm a strong believer in focusing in order to execute. I think an opportunity would be missed if there were not a more expansive look at areas for study. Delivery system reform is one. Educating patients to reduce readmissions and costs is another, as is pharmacological or surgical treatment for obesity. The two areas of education and AHRQ research help drive outcomes. These are telltale signs that delivery system reform is a focus for comparative effectiveness research. The other is on prevention and wellness. I think, again, if it is just technology assessment, it could be focused on the back end of the system. I think the real opportunity here is looking at the entire health care system. It was alluded to earlier, do we want to invest more in telegraphs or try to invest in the telephone? I think the focus on prevention and wellness really provides that transformational opportunity in the health care system.
Yesterday I attended a session at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in which their commission released suggestions. They found that income, education, and early education development had the greatest impact on the long-term health care of society. So, again, I know that sometimes it can be more difficult to develop studies around, but I think if we are really looking to transform the health care system, it is critically important not only to look at technology assessments that exist out there right now, or technologies, but also to look at how the delivery system can be reformed. And then it is important—the Kennedy office has mentioned this up on the hill—we don't want prevention and wellness to be a footnote of health care reform, we want them to be a pillar. I think that is something that the MDMA supports as well. And hopefully the resources that AHRQ has to move forward with the comparative effectiveness research will include that as well. Thank you very much.