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July 22, 2013

Evaluating Health System Processes With Randomized Controlled Trials

Author Affiliations
  • 1Stanford Prevention Research Center, Departments of Medicine and Health Research and Policy, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California
  • 2Department of Statistics, Stanford University School of Humanities and Sciences, Stanford, California
  • 3Medical Oncology Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(14):1279-1280. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.1044

Health system processes shape and define health care and the medical experience of patients, health care practitioners, and society at large. These processes range from targeted mandates, such as gown and glove precautions for patient contact or automated computer alerts, to wider choices, such as deciding how to respond to medical emergencies, how to use (or not use) performance metrics or patient satisfaction surveys, what new health care facilities to build, or even how to finance health care costs and medical insurance. Given their unquestionable importance, we contend that health system processes should be routinely evaluated with randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

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