Survey of Health Care Stakeholders Indicates Comparative Effectiveness Research Development Heading in Positive Direction

Washington, DC (May 2, 2011)--A new survey of health care stakeholders indicates there is tempered optimism about the current environment for comparative effectiveness research (CER) and its ability to improve the quality of medical decision-making. These stakeholders see progress in efforts to provide or improve the tools necessary to enhance this research, but recognize that much work remains to be done to “get it right.”

“It is still very early in the implementation of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute and CER methods, but stakeholders are generally positive about the progress thus far,” said NPC President Dan Leonard. “There is a clear recognition that the work isn’t done on CER. It will need to be a thoughtful process to implement CER in a way that serves patients, improves outcomes and creates more value for every health care dollar spent.”

The survey, conducted by Scientific & Social Systems on behalf of NPC, was fielded between November 2010 and March 2011 among key stakeholders impacted by CER, including government, researchers, insurers, employers, human resource consultants, health care coalitions, and trade and other groups. A total of 111 stakeholders participated in the survey.

Respondents to the survey said that, over time, CER will likely improve health care decision-making; however, changes have not substantially taken root yet and the full impact may require significantly more time. In fact, only 30 percent believed that CER would lead to moderate improvements in health care decision-making in the next year.

Respondents also recognized that CER efforts are not a “quick fix.” Those who responded to the survey reported feeling that efforts are moving gradually, but in the right direction, in establishing CER.  Part of the progress recognized by respondents is the growing recognition of other factors, beyond just clinical effectiveness, in comparing health interventions. Inclusion of factors like quality of life, workplace productivity effects, quality of care and the potential for improved adherence to treatments were viewed as positive movement. 

“In terms of the different measures of the current healthcare environment, stakeholders appear to be most confident that research priorities are moving to address the range of treatment choices faced by patients and providers. This seems to me to be a very positive sign, since setting the right priorities will help drive the system in the appropriate direction,” said Dr. Claudia Schur, director and vice president of the Center for Health Research & Policy at Social & Scientific Systems.

Overall, the survey demonstrated that CER has registered with stakeholders as a major pillar in efforts to improve health care. Nearly six in 10 of survey respondents were “very familiar” with CER and about 30 percent of respondents were “somewhat familiar” with CER.  Mere months after its formation, one-third of survey respondents said that they were “very familiar” with the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), the public-private entity charged with leading CER efforts. 

The survey also provided insights into the implementation of CER.  Most notably, survey respondents recognized government entities – including the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the public/private PCORI entity – as the most important drivers of CER implementation.  Respondents view NIH, AHRQ and the pharmaceutical and medical products industry as primary funders of CER and academia and the pharmaceutical and medical products industry as those with the responsibility to conduct research.  

View the survey results and questionnaire on NPC's website.

About the National Pharmaceutical Council

The National Pharmaceutical Council is a health policy research organization dedicated to the advancement of good evidence and science, and to fostering an environment in the United States that supports medical innovation. Founded in 1953 and supported by the nation’s major research-based pharmaceutical companies, NPC focuses on research development, information dissemination, and education on the critical issues of evidence, innovation and the value of medicines for patients. For more information, visit

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