Q&A: Dr. Doran Edwards

Want to increase access to new technology? Research smarter
Thursday, June 7, 2012

BALTIMORE – How does research influence public policy—and vice versa? Providers and clinicians who participate in research to help get new technology to patients sooner should keep this relationship in mind, says Dr. Doran Edwards, chief manager at Advanced Healthcare Consulting. Edwards will join Sunrise Medical’s Rita Hostak to present “How Science Influences Public Policy in Seating and Mobility” at the Wheeled Mobility State of the Science conference July 1-2, part of RESNA’s annual conference. Edwards recently told HME News what he hopes attendees will get out of his session.

HME News: Why do you feel this topic is important?

Doran Edwards: I know there are many, many people out there working to improve mobility for patients. However, people just don’t understand that they actually can influence policy by the way they do their research.

HME: What kind of research needs to be done to influence policy?

Edwards: CMS has asked for evidence-based medicine now for many years, but, as cost containment has become an issue, we now see CMS asking for more comparative data. So, as people are designing their trials to satisfy the FDA, with very slight tinkering, they sometimes can answer CMS’s secondary questions of whether something is medically reasonable and necessary.

HME: Is it harder to prove medical necessity after the fact? I know the industry has worked to convince CMS to cover standing wheelchairs, for example.

Edwards: If they had asked the right questions early on and proven the medical necessity of the standing wheelchair before they ever launched it, they wouldn’t now, many years down the road, be going back and trying to reinvent the wheel and redo this technology assessment in a real world trial. 

HME: What do you hope people will take away from your session?

Edwards: They should think about the policy implications, the reimbursement issues and the kinds of questions that third-party payers will ask about the devices. They should get those questions answered early on in the process to save the research industry millions of dollars in trials and perhaps get new technologies launched sooner.