AdvaMed Launches Independent Research Foundation

Originally Published MDDI May 2004NEWSTRENDS

May 1, 2004

4 Min Read
AdvaMed Launches Independent Research Foundation

Originally Published MDDI May 2004


Erik Swain

An independent research and education foundation plans to research the value of advances in medical technology and publish its findings.

Established by AdvaMed (Washington, DC), the Institute for Medical Technology Innovation will get off the ground with nearly $11 million raised from AdvaMed members, well in excess of the institute's initial $5 million goal. In the future, however, the institute will apply for government research grants and seek funding from other sources aside from AdvaMed members. The institute has been incorporated as a charitable organization and will operate separately from AdvaMed. It will not be involved in the trade association's advocacy and lobbying activities.

“The significant contributions made by AdvaMed member companies will allow the institute to develop original research on the impact of medical technology in shaping advances in healthcare worldwide,” said Pamela G. Bailey, AdvaMed's president. “This research will result in quantifiable data that have not been available before. The findings will increase public understanding of the forces, contributions, and challenges affecting the future of medical technology innovation for all patients globally.”

The institute has three initial goals. The first is to serve as the definitive source of facts, original research, and information on medical technology. The second is to partner with government, academia, and other organizations to conduct research and educational programming. The third is to disseminate findings via communication and education.

The institute's board and research committee will determine which topics to investigate and which research projects to fund, said Blair Childs, AdvaMed's executive vice president.

“Our view is that the value of medical technology is powerful, but the problem is that it is not well documented,” he said. “The goal is to take that powerful message and record it, quantify it, and understand it.”

The institute is AdvaMed's second effort at an educational foundation. It previously established the Healthcare Technology Institute, which existed from 1992 to 1996. The main differences are that the old institute was not a separate organization, it did not receive funding from sources outside 

AdvaMed, and it was focused more on analyzing and publicizing existing data than on collecting new data. The new institute's structure and mission could give it a better chance at longevity, and better odds of being perceived as an objective source of information.

“I think it's very important that they are opening up participation to groups besides AdvaMed members and medical technology companies,” said 

Candace Littell, who was executive director of the Healthcare Technology Institute from 1992 to 1995. “When you do that, it helps perceptions regarding the integrity of the work. We did a good job of creating balanced work, but if you are funded exclusively by industry, that will raise questions of bias, no matter how unfair.” Littell is now president of Littell Group Inc. (Woodstock, VA), a reimbursement consulting firm.

Childs agreed. “This institute is meant to be more independent, and a goal is to keep the information as objective as possible.”

Littell said she believes the old institute folded because, while it accomplished a lot in its first years, it should have reevaluated its mission to determine a future direction but did not. She also noted that the political pressures on the industry, which were at a high in 1992 when President Clinton won office in part by promising to reform the healthcare system, had ebbed by 1996. But, she said, the new institute should be able to survive for the long term. “They have taken what I thought were the successes of the past institute and greatly improved upon it,” she said.

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