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Medical News & Perspectives
April 18, 2012

A Push for Comparative Effectiveness: US Initiatives Aim to Empower Patients, Physicians

JAMA. 2012;307(15):1570-1571. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.471

Since its creation in 1989, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has spearheaded efforts to boost the quality of health care in the United States, including funding research on the comparative effectiveness of interventions. The agency has also helped identify challenges to translating new research findings into practice, pointing out that findings can take as long as 17 years to make their way into practice, often with only spotty uptake. However, the Department of Health and Human Services received $1.1 billion in funding for comparative effectiveness research (CER) as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (2009), of which $473 million was invested in research supported by AHRQ. Now, with additional funding for CER from the Affordable Care Act (2010), AHRQ is poised to take an even bigger role in the future of US health care.