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An NIH study of treatments for high blood pressure, called the ALLHAT trial, shows some of the strengths and limitations of comparative effectiveness research to improve patient care. More...
For journalists and other media professionals
When conducting Comparative Effectiveness Research it is crucial to understand the differences between the players involved in the process. In his remarks at the 2nd Annual Forum on Achieving Patient centeredness , Marc Boutin, executive vice president and COO at the National Health Council, discussed the important differences between the three major players in the process: the patient, the consumer, and the patient advocacy organization. He stated that many times when the patient is discussed they are not defined. To the National Health Council, patients are “people with chronic disease and disabilities,” and a consumer is someone who “uses the health care system when they need it, sometimes for acute care, sometimes because they have hay fever.” Each group is at different “ends of the spectrum,” representing very different perspectives.
According to Boutin, one of the most important differences is between the information that both groups are looking for when it comes to health care options. At times, the consumer looks for the most cost effective option; whereas, the patient looks for the best and most effective treatment. As a result, differentiating the two and keeping the focus on the patient is critical for the success of CER.
Boutin further delved into the subject, by differentiating between the patient and patient groups. Boutin stressed that patients are “looking at a snapshot of where they are as it relates to their condition” and patient organizations do not “look at the snapshot of a condition as it exists at any given point in time. They look at the life cycle of that condition. They look at it from the beginning to the end, from early diagnosis, actually even a step back from prevention to diagnosis to treatment, on to death.” It is important to see this difference because the patient’s unique perspective is what is necessary in order for the patient organizations to create a general or “holistic” view of the disease and its treatment patterns.
The greatest take from Boutin’s remarks is that people involved in the CER process must understand the differences between patients, consumers and patient advocacy groups. A proper understanding can help to facilitate the proper synthesis between the groups and ultimately help CER remain as focused on the patient as possible.
Read the full transcript for Marc Boutin’s comments.