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Analysis calls for medical device information to better serve patients and doctors
Date:1/31/2008

The approval process for medical devices does not involve the same rigorous review used for pharmaceuticals, and this needs to change in order to improve health outcomes, say researchers from the University of California, San Francisco.

The UCSF team analyzes the problem and proposes steps toward a solution in a Perspectives article in the January 2008 issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine devoted entirely to medical devices. UCSF researchers Mitchell D. Feldman, MD, MPhil, and Jeffrey A. Tice, MD, edited the issue.

The team concludes that after a device achieves Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, a technology assessment by an independent organization can help identify medical devices that are truly beneficial and safe. The researchers also suggest that this assessment follow an evidence-based approach to information-gathering that includes data on the devices success in clinical application. This type of data would be valuable for increasing health professionals awareness of the potential promise and pitfalls of new technology, the team writes.

These days, patients are asking their doctors for the newest technologies from genetic tests to specific radiation treatments, and many physicians dont know where to turn for the latest evidence-based information, said Feldman, professor of medicine at UCSF and corresponding author of the study. Sometimes, the only information out there is what the manufacturer provides.

The UCSF analysis evaluated the federal review process, the method by which devices come to market, how the scientific literature reports on clinical trials involving medical devices, and the effectiveness of independent review boards in improving a technologys medical benefit to patients.

Out of the thousands of medical technology applications submitted annually to the FDA, less than 100 undergo the kind of scrutiny required for new drugs, according to information cited in the re
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Contact: Lauren Hammit
lhammit@pubaff.ucsf.edu
415-476-2557
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert

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