Comparative Effectiveness Research: Lessons from Abroad

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Australia, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom have developed comparative effectiveness research agencies to suit their unique circumstances, but the four agencies share common features that should be carefully considered by U.S. policymakers seeking to do the same, according to the authors of <a href="/publications/journal-article/2009/jun/comparative-effectiveness-research-and-evidence-based-health">a study</a> published in the new issue of the <em>Milbank Quarterly</em>.<br /><br />A component of recent discussions about U.S. health system reform has focused on the need for better evidence on the comparative effectiveness of various clinical treatments and technologies. The new study, authored by an international team of researchers led by Kalipso Chalkidou, M.D., Ph.D., the associate director for research and development at the U.K.'s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and a former Commonwealth Fund Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy and Practice, shows how the U.S. might learn from the other countries' experiences. The authors discuss the key features of the four agencies, which all possess a clear mandate to produce information that will inform clinical and health policy decisions. By contrast, comparative effectiveness legislation under consideration in the U.S. Senate explicitly separates the generation of knowledge from health care decision-making.<br /><br />The authors suggest that U.S. policymakers be aware of the importance of developing principles that will govern a future agency’s independence, transparency, and inclusiveness; be willing to learn and evolve; clarify for stakeholders that the objective is to improve the quality of care and ensure value; and create broad-based governing structures.<br />