- Article by: JOE CARLSON , Star Tribune
At a conference in Minneapolis, medical insurers had a message for devicemakers: Let’s see the numbers.
Don’t bother with the marketing pitch. Suzanne Belinson wants to see the hard data.
Belinson is executive director of Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s Clinical Effectiveness Center, which has begun using scientific data to inform decisions on what medical gadgets are covered by the Blues’ 37 independent health plans. She told a crowd of keen-eared medical device executives on Wednesday that the days of relying on glossy brochures while hiding unpublished clinical data are fast disappearing.
“You can talk to me and other scientists in our group. … But I’m not going to invite you in for a marketing presentation. That’s not what we do,” Belinson told the crowd of about 1,100 attending LifeScience Alley’s annual meeting at the Minneapolis Convention Center. “My group lives and breathes data.”
It was an oft-repeated theme Wednesday. Mark West, president of health care data-analysis firm SharedClarity, said his organization is rapidly crunching the numbers from millions of patients and thousands of hospitals on which kinds of stents, pacemakers and internal-organ slings are the most cost-effective in the long run.
While such studies may not be new, the urgency behind them is, as evidenced by the existence of unusual organizations like SharedClarity, which is a for-profit joint venture between several large health care systems and Minnesota’s UnitedHealth Group Inc.