Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, the Technology Evaluation Center (TEC)

Evidence-based Practice Center

Research

Profile

Founded in 1985 by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, the Technology Evaluation Center (TEC) pioneered the development of scientific criteria for assessing medical technologies through objective, comprehensive reviews of clinical evidence.

Its mission is to provide health care decision makers with timely, rigorous, and credible assessments that synthesize the available evidence on the diagnosis, treatment, management, and prevention of disease. TEC was designated as one of the first Evidence-based Practice Centers of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in 1997 and received a second 5-year appointment in 2002.

Capabilities

The TEC core staff members are physicians and doctorate-level scientists with a history of academic and primary research affiliations. They represent a multitude of clinical and methodological disciplines that are integral to performing technology assessments. TEC offers strong capabilities in internal medicine and in a range of subspecialties involved in cardiology, oncology, genetics, radiology and nuclear imaging, immunology, neurology, urology, trauma (including burns, wounds, and head injury), gastroenterology, orthopedics, and pharmacology. Other areas in which TEC has expertise include geriatrics, rehabilitation, mental health and substance abuse, and preventive care.

TEC provides technology assessment services to all independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Member Plans, issuing 20-25 TEC Assessments per year. In addition, TEC staff members have published articles in peer-reviewed medical journals, including the Annals of Internal Medicine, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, and the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

Collaboration

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association Technology Evaluation Center and Evidence-based Practice Center is directed by Naomi Aronson, Ph.D.

TEC has a Medical Advisory Panel of nationally recognized experts in technology assessment, clinical research, and medical practice. David M. Eddy, M.D., Ph.D., serves as Scientific Advisor. Dr. Eddy is noted for his work on practice guidelines, outcomes research, technology assessment, and mathematical modeling. The 18-member Panel also includes appointees from the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American College of Surgeons. A majority of the Panel members hold academic appointments and are independent medical experts without affiliation to health care payers.

In addition, through its collaborative relationship with Kaiser Permanente, begun in 1993, TEC has ready access to Kaiser's clinical experts on a wide range of topics.

To promote understanding of the importance of evidence to inform health care decisions, TEC Assessments are now available to the public from its Web site.

Additional Information

Access information about the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association TEC at: http://www.bcbs.com/betterknowledge/tec/

Or contact:

Naomi Aronson, Ph.D.
Executive Director of the Technology Evaluation Center and
Director of the Evidence-based Practice Center
225 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: (312) 297-5530
Fax: (312) 297-6827
E-mail: naomi.aronson@bcbsa.com

Current as of October 2007
Internet Citation: Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, the Technology Evaluation Center (TEC): Evidence-based Practice Center. October 2007. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/research/findings/evidence-based-reports/centers/bcbsatec.html