Quantifying the Impact of CER: Let Us Avoid the Mistakes of the Past

In his latest "From Methods to Policy" column, published in the January 2013 issue of the Journal of Comparative Effectiveness Research, NPC Chief Science Officer Dr. Robert Dubois traces the history of federal funding for CER and explains the importance of supporting research efforts to answer critical health questions. 

He writes, "[P]roducing evidence provides an important initial step that must be followed by research and efforts to support adoption into clinical practice. However, we need an additional effort--to examine what happens next. Do individual CER projects (or those in a conceptual portfolio) lead to beneficial changes in patient outcomes for the healthcare population at large? Only by rigorously and routinely examining what happens after we conduct CER will we have evidence to show its benefits and to defend the funding that supports it.

"It would not only benefit researchers to know when their studies did and did not affect decisions, it also would build the evidentiary base that CER provides a return on its investment. Businesses routinely invest or disinvest based upon quantifiable return on investment. Governments less frequently make decisions in this fashion. Being a research community that can influence clinical practice and health policy-makers, we have an opportunity to learn from the past, conduct our work differently today and avoid loss of funding and derailing of the CER efforts of the future. Let us demonstrate the value that CER brings to health outcomes," Dr. Dubois concludes.

Read the full text online at the JCER website.