The Politics and Practice of Comparative Effectiveness Research

May 2010

In early 2010, $1.4 billion in federal stimulus funding helped to propel a movement to achieve higher-quality, lower-cost healthcare in the United States through the conduct and dissemination of comparative effectiveness research (CER). Investment in CER was meant to assist clinicians, patients, and health systems in comparing the relative real-world value of therapeutic alternatives, and plans for a national CER center had looked to precedents abroad in Britain, France, Germany, and Australia. Nonetheless, even as this federal program is still defining its initial priorities, significant conflict over the definition, funding, and tactical priorities of CER was evident. This one-day workshop brought together clinicians, policymakers, historians, economists, ethicists, and sociologists that established an interdisciplinary conversation regarding the goals, conduct, and implementation of comparative effectiveness research in U.S. health care.