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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
Proposals to expand government support for comparative effectiveness research are gaining increased attention in Washington as policy-makers seek ways to improve quality and value in health care. Comparative effectiveness research seeks to learn what works in health care by comparing the patient health outcomes of different health care and treatment options. CER can cover a wide range of health care interventions, from medical tests, treatments and procedures to care management programs, care processes, and benefit designs.
Used appropriately, comparative effectiveness research can play a valuable role in supporting good decision-making in health care. Moreover, improved quality is the best path to greater health care affordability.
It is essential that CER be conducted in a way that promotes improved quality of care and medical progress, preserves patient choice and access to optimal care.
While CER can play a positive role in improving patient care and health care delivery, it also can be misapplied in ways that unintentionally undermine patient access to care and physician-patient decision-making.
That's because comparative effectiveness research results typically are based on broad population averages that don't reflect the differences in needs of individual patients. Any research results need to be considered along with the broader body of evidence, the patient's individual needs and preferences, and the physician's clinical expertise.
It is important to ensure that CER study results are not misused to impose blunt, "one-size-fits-all" access restrictions.
The Partnership to Improve Patient Care's Principles define a framework for CER policy that is centered on improving patient care. With your help, we can make sure these principles are reflected in emerging proposals for government-supported comparative effectiveness research.
Find out more.