Comparative Effectiveness Research/Patient Centered Outcomes Research

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Comparative effectiveness research (CER) informs health-care decisions by providing evidence on the effectiveness, benefits, and harms of different treatment options. The evidence is generated from research studies that compare drugs, medical devices, tests, surgeries, or ways to deliver health care. CER may be a systematic research review evaluating existing clinical trials, clinical studies, and other research. Similar to CER, patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) is designed to inform health care decisions by providing evidence on the effectiveness, benefits and harms of different treatment options for different patients. The evidence is generated from studies that compare drugs, medical devices, tests, surgeries or ways to deliver health care. This research recognizes that the patient's voice should be heard in the health care decision making process. CER may also consist of researchers conducting studies that generate new evidence. Two organizations focused on CER and PCOR are the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
AHRQ is dedicated to improving the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans. Working with the public and private sectors, AHRQ builds the knowledge base for what works—and does not work—in health and health care and translates this knowledge into everyday practice and policymaking. Comparative effectiveness research is one of AHRQ's five focus areas. The other four include quality improvement and patient safety, health information technology, prevention and care management and health care value. AHRQ has many CER guides for use by clinicians, patients and consumers. The Effective Health Care Program supports CER and its dissemination.

Review the guides for clinicians.

Review the guides for patients and consumers.

Free continuing education on comparative effectiveness research is offered. One CE program a month will be added over a three year period.

Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)
PCORI was established by Congress through the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as an independent, non-profit organization. It will commission research to provide information about the best available evidence to help patients and their health care providers make more informed decisions. Patient-centered outcomes research” (PCOR) is the type of research that will be the focus of PCORI’s work. Patients will play a major role in PCORI's work by telling PCORI what health care outcomes they value. Results of its research will be provided to patients and clinicians in ways that are responsive to their needs and interests and easy to understand. PCORI will ensure that its research is not construed as mandates for practice guidelines or coverage recommendations. The PCORI Board of Governors held its first meeting in November 2010 and meets every two months. PCORI is developing a research agenda and plan for commissioning PCOR.

The PCORI Board of Governors includes one nurse, Debra Barksdale, PhD, RN, who is an Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing in Chapel Hill, NC. She is a researcher, certified nurse practitioner, and educator. Her research program focuses on psychological and physical stress, coping, and cardiovascular responses in African Americans. The Methodology Committee that advises PCORI also has one nurse member, Robin Newhouse, PhD, RN, who is Assistant Dean for the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program and Associate Professor, Organizational Systems and Adult Health, University of Maryland School of Nursing. She conducts research ranging from randomized controlled trials to systematic reviews focusing on quality of care, evidence-based practice among clinicians and outcomes research in healthcare delivery systems.