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July 28, 1989

The Congressional Office of Technology Assessment

JAMA. 1989;262(4):550. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430040122040

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Legislative policy-making in complex modern societies inevitably requires reliable, expert, and unbiased scientific and technological information. To provide such information on current issues and to foresee future problems, the US Congress, in 1972, established a support agency, the congressional Office of Technology Assessment (OTA). Since that time, the OTA has grown to include about 100 professionals in a wide spectrum of scientific disciplines. The OTA may be asked by Congress to study any of the entire range of technological issues that come before the Congress and has served as a model for providing technical input to the policy-making process for a number of foreign governments.

This issue of The Journal inaugurates occasional reports originating in the Health Program and Biological Applications Program of the OTA on subject matter in health care and biomedical science that various congressional committees have deemed of sufficient interest to require formal study. The OTA is