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Health Care Reform
March 8, 2010

Patient-Centered Comparative Effectiveness Research: Essential for High-Quality Care

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Center for Outcomes and Evidence, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, Maryland.

Arch Intern Med. 2010;170(5):403-404. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2010.5

Most physicians implicitly define high-quality care as the application of scientific knowledge to patient care, tailored to each individual's unique characteristics, circumstances, needs, and preferences. Fulfilling that aspiration today is more challenging than ever because of chaotic practice environments, many new options, and informed patients who have done their own research online, but there is precious little comparative information. Patient-centered comparative effectiveness research (CER) is essential for high-quality care, because it focuses on filling gaps in evidence that is needed by clinicians and patients to make informed decisions. It also promises to help clinicians identify which patients are most likely to benefit from breakthrough innovations and to accelerate innovation uptake into practice. The purpose of this commentary is to review recent developments in CER and their implications for clinicians and patients.