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This week, an under-the-radar U.S. government advisory group called the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS) can vastly improve medical device safety.

The NCVHS, which was founded in 1949, is responsible for developing recommendations and common standards for organizing information and data across the U.S. health care system. This charge includes oversight of the claims forms that facilitate all billing and insurance-related activities. Policymakers and others use claims data to track the flow of medical products and services, spending, quality, and outcomes.


One notable absence from claims forms is specific information about medical devices — products ranging from pacemakers to hip implants and ventilators — which account for nearly $200 billion in annual health care spending. This omission is specific to medical devices; claims forms contain National Drug Codes that enable tracking of pharmaceuticals.

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