Seeking the Proof: HealthTrust Experts Share Guidelines for Evaluating Clinical Evidence

Is that medical device really new and improved―and worth the higher price tag? The October 2015 issue of the Journal of Healthcare Contracting featured five HealthTrust experts discussing smart ways to determine the veracity of suppliers’ claims about new medical technology. Michael Schlosser, MD, FAANS, MBA, chief medical officer, Lynn Tarkington, RN, BS, AVP of physician and clinical services, Mark Dumond, assistant vice president of  technology services, Robin Cunningham, RN, MSN, a director for physician services, and Jarad Garshnick, a director for physician services, shared some of HealthTrust’s systematic and proven guidelines for evaluating clinical evidence before making supply chain decisions.

The team of HealthTrust experts focused on whether studies conducted by manufacturers are reliable; how to counter supplier objections and hold them accountable; and reliable resources to use to dig deeper into claims.

Tarkington explained how clinical evidence evaluations should involve a multidisciplinary team of people who know how to evaluate studies, interpret statistics, understand trial design and ask the right questions of researchers.

“[The team] always seeks additional levels of evidence for a particular product and consults with an appropriate physician advisor to confirm the information—specifically, when the product falls in a physician preference or clinically sensitive category,” Tarkington says. “If we’re looking at a product in the orthopedic category, for example, we would do some of the background research and then have an orthopedic physician or surgeon review the studies we find, to determine if the provided evidence is reliable and applicable.”

Garshnick further elaborated HealthTrust’s evaluation process.

“HealthTrust established a new Physicians Advisors Program earlier this year to engage clinical experts around the country to analyze evidence-based data on medical device utilization and engage in discussions around specific product and service line categories, Garshnick explains. “Their role includes providing feedback on new and future technology and treatment options, and identifying promising research opportunities.

“The common goal of physicians in the program is to improve the quality and efficiency of patient care by developing a clinical foundation for purchasing decisions.”

You can read more about HealthTrust’s clinical evaluation guidelines in the October 2015 issue of the Journal of Healthcare Contracting, found online here.


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