Alan M Harvey

Brigham and Women's Hospital , Boston, MA, United States

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Publications (7)27.46 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Rapid shifts in the demographics and techniques of weight loss surgery (WLS) have led to new issues, new data, new concerns, and new challenges. In 2004, this journal published comprehensive evidence-based guidelines on WLS. In this issue, we've updated those guidelines to assure patient safety in this fast-changing field. WLS involves a uniquely vulnerable population in need of specialized resources and ongoing multidisciplinary care. Timely best-practice updates are required to identify new risks, develop strategies to address them, and optimize treatment. Findings in these reports are based on a comprehensive review of the most current literature on WLS; they directly link patient safety to methods for setting evidence-based guidelines developed from peer-reviewed scientific publications. Among other outcomes, these reports show that WLS reduces chronic disease risk factors, improves health, and confers a survival benefit on those who undergo it. The literature also shows that laparoscopy has displaced open surgery as the predominant approach; that government agencies and insurers only reimburse procedures performed at accredited WLS centers; that best practice care requires close collaboration between members of a multidisciplinary team; and that new and existing facilities require wide-ranging changes to accommodate growing numbers of severely obese patients. More than 100 specialists from across the state of Massachusetts and across the many disciplines involved in WLS came together to develop these new standards. We expect them to have far-reaching effects of the development of health care policy and the practice of WLS.
    Obesity 06/2009; 17(5):842-62. · 4.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To update evidence-based best practice guidelines for coding and reimbursement and establish policy and access standards for weight loss surgery (WLS). Systematic search of English-language literature on WLS and health-care policy, access, insurance reimbursement, coding, private payers, public policy, and mandated benefits published between April 2004 and May 2007 in MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library. Use of key words to narrow the search for a selective review of abstracts, retrieval of full articles, and grading of evidence according to systems used in established evidence-based models. We identified 51 publications in our literature search; the 20 most relevant were examined in detail. These included reviews, cost-benefit analyses, and trend and cost studies from administrative databases. Literature on policy issues surrounding WLS are very sparse and largely focused on economic analyses. Reports on policy initiatives in the public and private arenas are primarily limited to narrative reviews of nonsurgical efforts to fight obesity. A substantial body of work shows that WLS improves or reverses most obesity-related comorbidities. Mounting evidence also indicates that WLS confers a significant survival advantage for those who undergo it. WLS is a viable and cost-effective treatment for an increasingly common disease, and policy decisions are more frequently being linked to incentives for national health-care goals. However, access to WLS often varies by payer and region. Currently, there are no uniform criteria for determining patient appropriateness for surgery.
    Obesity 06/2009; 17(5):918-23. · 4.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To reevaluate and update evidence-based best practice recommendations published in 2004 for anesthetic perioperative care and pain management in weight loss surgery (WLS), we performed a systematic search of English-language literature on anesthetic perioperative care and pain management in WLS published between April 2004 and May 2007 in MEDLINE and the Cochrane Library. We identified relevant abstracts by using key words, retrieved full text articles, and stratified the resulting evidence according to systems used in established evidence-based models. We updated prior evidence-based best practice recommendations based upon interim literature. In instances of controversial or inadequate scientific evidence, the task force reached consensus recommendations following evaluation of the best available information and expert opinion. The search yielded 1,788 abstracts, with 162 potentially relevant titles; 45 were reviewed in detail. Despite more information on perioperative management of patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), evidence to support preoperative testing and treatment or to guide perioperative monitoring is scarce. New evidence on appropriate intraoperative dosing of muscle relaxants allows for greater precision in their use during WLS. A novel application of -2 agonists for perioperative anesthetic care is emerging. Key elements that may enhance patient safety include integration of the latest evidence on WLS, obesity, and collaborative multidisciplinary care into clinical care. However, large gaps remain in the evidence base.
    Obesity 02/2009; 17(5):889-894. · 4.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To develop evidence-based recommendations that optimize the safety and efficacy of perioperative anesthetic care and pain management in weight loss surgery (WLS) patients. This Task Group examined the scientific literature on anesthetic perioperative care and pain management published in MEDLINE from January 1994 to March 2004. We also reviewed additional data from other sources (e.g., book chapters). The search yielded 195 abstracts, of which 35 references were reviewed in detail. Task Group consensus was used to provide recommendations when evidence in the literature was insufficient. We developed anesthesia practice and patient safety advisory recommendations for preoperative evaluation, intraoperative management, and postoperative care and pain management of WLS patients. We also provided suggestions related to medical error reduction and systems improvements, credentialing, and future research. Obesity-related comorbidities including obstructive sleep apnea place WLS patients at increased risk for complications perioperatively. Regarding perioperative safety and outcomes, conclusive evidence beyond the accepted standard of care in the reviewed literature is limited. Few reports specifically address the perioperative needs of severely obese patients. In this advisory, we synthesize current knowledge and make best practice recommendations for perioperative care and pain management in WLS patients. These recommendations require periodic review as further medical knowledge and evidence evolve.
    Obesity research 03/2005; 13(2):254-66. · 4.95 Impact Factor
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    George L Blackburn, Frank B Hu, Alan M Harvey
    Obesity research 03/2005; 13(2):203-4. · 4.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: To review the use and usefulness of billing codes for services related to weight loss surgery (WLS) and to examine third party reimbursement policies for these services.Research Methods and Procedures: The Task Group carried out a systematic search of MEDLINE, the Internet, and the trade press for publications on WLS, coding, reimbursement, and coding and reimbursement policy. Twenty-eight articles were each reviewed and graded using a system based on established evidence-based models. The Massachusetts Dietetics Association provided reimbursement data for nutrition services. Three suppliers of laparoscopic WLS equipment provided summaries of coding and reimbursement information. WLS program directors were surveyed for information on use of procedure codes related to WLS.Results: Recommendations focused on correcting or improving on the current lack of congruity among coding practices, reimbursement policies, and accepted clinical practice; lack of uniform coding and reimbursement data across institutions; inconsistent and/or inaccurate diagnostic and billing codes; inconsistent insurance reimbursement criteria; and inability to leverage reimbursement and coding data to track outcomes, identify best practices, and perform accurate risk-benefit analyses.Discussion: Rapid changes in the prevalence of obesity, our understanding of its clinical impact, and the technologies for surgical treatment have yet to be adequately reflected in coding, coverage, and reimbursement policies. Issues identified as key to effective change include improved characterization of the risks, benefits, and costs of WLS; anticipation and monitoring of technological advances; encouragement of consistent patterns of insurance coverage; and promotion of billing codes for WLS procedures that facilitate accurate tracking of clinical use and outcomes.Keywords: cost-effectiveness, health insurance, gastric bypass, weight loss surgery, bariatric surgery
    Obesity 01/2005; 13(2):290-300. · 4.39 Impact Factor
  • John A. Fox, Alan M. Harvey
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    ABSTRACT: This chapter provides a short primer on anesthesiology for clinicians who are involved in the care of tumor ablation patients, but who have not been trained in one of the surgical subspecialties. Anesthesiologists, in the role of pain treatment specialists, have long been asked to care for patients with metastatic tumors; the role of anesthesiologists in tumor ablation therapy represents a continuation of a recent trend that has seen anesthesiologists perform their conventional services (i.e., to make the patient insensible to pain) in areas outside of the operating room. Anesthesiologists have expanded their roles in the past several years in angiography, endoscopy, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-guided surgical suites, in which they interact with physician and nonphysician personnel who are as unfamiliar with what the anesthesiologist needs to deliver patient care as the anesthesiologist is with the needs of the team members in these non—operating-room settings.
    12/2004: pages 64-75;

Publication Stats

120 Citations
27.46 Total Impact Points

Top Journals


  • 2004–2009
    • Brigham and Women's Hospital
      • Center for Brain Mind Medicine
      Boston, MA, United States
  • 2005
    • Harvard Medical School
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States