Comparative Effectiveness Research: What is it?

Doesn’t it seem like we are always hearing about how we can lower health care costs? Do you ever wonder if there are any good things that are being done by medical organizations to help us in the battle of rising health costs? Well here is something that I recently learned about; comparative effectiveness research. 

Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) is research conducted on topics like comparing effectiveness of treatments, prevention, management and treatment of preventable disease, as well as prevention, management and treatment of high-volume, high-cost treatments. This type of research is becoming more and more recognized and put into place by the government. For example, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act created the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, an independent, non-for-profit organization that supports research on comparative clinical effectiveness. This type of research is important because it will eventually ensure that only the most effective treatments and equipment are used, eliminating needless health care spending on treatments that don’t necessarily work, or don’t work as well. 

Currently, the American Medical Association is supporting and funding comparative effectiveness research. To supplement this type of research, the AMA has started an initiative called the AMA-convened Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement, a national physician-led initiative created to improve health care quality by identifying and developing evidence-based clinical performance, promoting the implementation of effective clinical performance, and advancing clinical performance measurement and improvement. This initiative will hopefully lower health costs by ensuring that physicians are working as a team to provide us with the upmost quality care and effective treatments, so that we spend less time in the hospital and doctor’s office, and less money doing just that. 

So, why do we care? It’s very important that we know what our government and health care providers are doing to help us improve our scary health cost situation. We should know that physicians are invested in helping us maintain good health while also keeping more money in our pockets. There are several things that these organizations do, but most of the time we hear about how much spending is being done and other negative factors. Something we can all do is keep ourselves informed and educate ourselves on the research that is being done to help stay healthier and happier by helping health care providers give us the most relevant and cost effective service! 

For more information and currently examples of comparative effectiveness research check out the National Library of Medicine