Deciphering Heterogeneity: The Good, The Bad and The Different


Four online seminars launched by the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy are aimed at helping health care decision-makers understand how heterogeneity, or individual treatment effects, impact patient health outcomes.

The seminars are particularly relevant given the growing interest in comparative effectiveness research (CER), which can be very useful in helping patients and their health care providers make informed decisions about their treatment options. The challenge, however, is in figuring out whether the information will apply to an individual patient who might respond differently to that treatment. That’s because most CER studies examine how an “average” patient will respond to a treatment, leaving some patients wondering about whether CER findings will apply to them.

To address these concerns, the seminars explain how to evaluate CER findings for heterogeneity, the implications of applying “average” effects to individual patients or groups, and how heterogeneity influences patient outcomes. The seminars are geared toward medical and pharmacy directors, pharmacy managers, clinical support pharmacists, and clinicians.

The presentations include:

The seminars were developed by the Comparative Effectiveness Research Group at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy with funding from the National Pharmaceutical Council.

In addition to the four seminars, the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy CER Group website features other heterogeneity tools and resources. These materials include two downloadable checklists, one to assess heterogeneity within a study, and another to assess heterogeneity across different studies, along with links to related websites and videos.