Got CER? Educating Pharmacists for Practice in the Future: New Tools for New Challenges

This study provides an early evaluation of the CER Collaborative's training program's impact on learners’ self-reported abilities to evaluate and incorporate comparative effectiveness research studies into their decision-making.

Authors: Perfetto EM, Anyanwu C, Pickering MK, Ward Zaghab R, Graff JS, Eichelberger B.
Publication: Journal of Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy. June 2016.

In recent years, comparative effectiveness research (CER) studies have become more available for health care providers to inform evidence-based decision-making. There is variability in the strengths and limitations of this new evidence, and researchers and decision-makers are faced with challenges when assessing the quality of these new methods and CER studies.

To encourage greater transparency, consistency and uniformity in the development and assessment of CER studies, the CER Collaborative, composed of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research, and the National Pharmaceutical Council, developed an online tool to assist researchers, new and experienced clinicians, and decision-makers in producing and evaluating CER studies.

A training program that supports the use of the online tool was developed and delivered through a partnership with the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy to improve the ability and confidence of individuals to apply CER study findings in their daily work. Seventy-one health care professionals enrolled in three separate cohorts for the training program. Upon completion, learners assessed their abilities to interpret and apply findings from CER studies by completing an online evaluation questionnaire.

A study, published in the Journal of Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy, provides an early evaluation of the training program's impact on learners’ self-reported abilities to evaluate and incorporate CER studies into their decision-making.

Upon completion of the training program, learners:

  • Indicated high confidence in their CER evidence assessment abilities;
  • Reported a 27.43%-59.86% improvement in capabilities to evaluate various CER studies and identify study design flaws; and
  • Expected to increase their use of evidence from CER studies in at least 1-2 problem decisions per month.