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Guide to Statistics and Methods
January 29, 2020

Practical Guide to Comparative Effectiveness Research Using Observational Data

Author Affiliations
  • 1Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center, Department of Surgery, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois
  • 2Department of Biostatistics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill
  • 3Department of Surgery, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
JAMA Surg. Published online January 29, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2019.4395

Evidence-based medicine in surgery is essential to the delivery of high-quality care. Comparative effectiveness research (CER) using observational study designs refers to the wide scope of research that allows for the generation of evidence to support one care strategy over another. Comparative effectiveness research is defined by the Institute of Medicine as the “generation and synthesis of evidence that compares the benefits and harms of alternative methods to prevent, diagnose, treat, and monitor a clinical condition or to improve the delivery of care.”1 The purpose of CER is to provide actionable evidence to consumers, clinicians, purchasers, and policy makers to make informed decisions.1

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