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Understanding Our Understanding of Comparative Effectiveness Research

July 15, 2013
1:49 pm

We know that comparative effectiveness research is important.  How important, though, and what impact it will have on healthcare delivery and clinical decisionmaking is still something of an unknown variable.

One reason this is still a matter of conjecture rather than certainty is because the ultimate impact of CER and the work being performed by the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) will be in the hands of those who receive this research.  Given that we don’t yet know the shape of this research or how end users — from insurers to clinicians to government agencies — will perceive and utilize it, CER’s effect on healthcare decisionmaking is still uncertain.

Credit goes, though, to the National Pharmaceutical Council for shining valuable light on this issue.  For the past three years, the Council has surveyed key stakeholders regarding their perceptions of CER and the effect it could have on the healthcare landscape.  NPC recently published the findings of its most recent survey in “2013 Comparative Effectiveness Research and the Environment for Healthcare Decisionmaking.”

The report contains some interesting findings, including:

  • Nine out of ten respondents — from government, academia, health plans, healthcare organizations and others — say comparative effectiveness research is “somewhat” or “very important” to them.
  • An increasing number of healthcare stakeholders are aware of PCORI and comparative effectiveness research.
  • Respondents expect CER to have a major impact on healthcare decisionmaking in the next five years rather than in the immediate short term.

It remains our expectation at HLC that comparative effectiveness research can result in better care and improved patient outcomes.  To make certain that is the case, we look forward to a continuing dialogue between PCORI and the organizations representing patients and healthcare providers.  The National Pharmaceutical Council research has turned on headlights to help better illuminate the path in which we are traveling.

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