Comparative Effectiveness Research

Comparative effectiveness research is intended to provide real world evidence about whether a program, such as a health promotion intervention, or a medical treatment, such as a medication, is more successful than other programs or treatments that attempt to achieve the same health outcome. Research has shown that providers sometimes vary widely in the preventive care and medical treatment they give to patients with similar health problems.

Uncertainty is now widely recognized as a major reason for this variation as providers and patients make decisions in the absence of clear, evidence-based guidelines and recommendations about which interventions are most effective and for whom. This variation in practice can be examined to compare the effectiveness, harms, and costs of different interventions and strategies to prevent, diagnose, treat, and monitor health conditions.

For example, Center researchers are asking the following questions:

  • Which patients are apt to gain from high vs. moderate dose statins after a heart attack?
  • Are cardioprotective medications effective for patients with end-stage renal disease?
  • Do all patients benefit equally from angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors after they have had an ischemic stroke?
  • By how much is survival increased when patients with stage I/II pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma undergo pancreatectomy?
  • What causes patients to obtain care from specialized high volume providers when they are diagnosed with rectal cancer? Are their outcomes better?
  • Does nighttime dosing of antihypertensives reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke compared with morning dosing?
  • Does an app-enabled centralized pharmacist consultation service improve quality of care compared with standard care for patients with cardiovascular disease?
  • What is the best method for quantifying treatment effectiveness for blood pressure control for patients who are not generally included in randomized controlled trials?

Questions or comments? Contact Nick Rudzianski. This page was last reviewed on May 28, 2020.