Comparative Effectiveness

Comparative Effectiveness Research Discussions Begin in Earnest

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act devotes $1.1 billion to support comparative effectiveness research.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will split the funds between the Office of the Secretary, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the National Institutes of Health.  The working definition for comparative effectiveness research is "is the conduct and synthesis of systematic research comparing different interventions and strategies to prevent, diagnose, treat and monitor health conditions."

How each agency focuses its use of the funds is being determined by a Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research, which released Monday its recommendations for the Office of the Secretary suggesting that it focus investing in the data infrastructure and patient registries that can support comparative effectiveness research. 

Today, the Institute of Medicine released its recommendations for for the top 100 priority areas for comparative effectiveness research.  Their suggestions are as far ranging as comparing effectiveness of treatments for hearing loss in adults and children to strategies for reducing health care-associated infections and unintended pregnancies.

There is no doubt that the health care system, and most stakeholders participating in it, could benefit from rigorous examinations of how we spend our money and choose to seek and deliver care.  That there will be politics and debates surrounding how this money is spent is just as certain.

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