THE NATIONAL Center for Health Care Technology (NCHCT) was established by an act of Congress (Public Law 95-623) to provide a forum for the assessment of health care technologies. It is responsible for undertaking and supporting research and for synthesizing the results of such research to offer providers, consumers, industry, and government agencies concerned with health reliable and broadly derived information on which to base their decisions. The Center is not a regulatory agency, and it is not intended necessarily to be a vehicle for cost containment.
The initiation of a feature in The Journal, NCHCT UPDATE, will greatly enhance information dissemination activities of the Center. This article describes the mandate to the Center, its history, its operating guidelines, and its activities to date. Future articles will contain reports of the scientific basis for Medicare coverage decisions, summaries of the findings of technology assessment forums, and descriptions of research activities.