New Institute of Medicine Report: Fodder for Stories on Comparative Effectiveness Research

Published on
June 30, 2009

A new Institute of Medicine report offers some excellent fodder for stories on "comparative effectiveness research," which examines whether and why some medical treatments are more effective than others.

You'll be hearing a lot about the comparative effectiveness buzzword as the national health reform debate unfolds, because it's seen as crucial in in lowering health costs. Why spend money on drug-eluting stents for heart disease, for example, if plain old stents might just keep people alive longer?

The U.S. government plans to spend $1.1 billion on studying comparative effectiveness research. The report, "Initial National Priorities for Comparative Effectiveness Research," is the Institute of Medicine's answer to the question posed by lawmakers: How should we spend this money? It sets priorities for research based on interviews and testimony from countless stakeholders, including medical researchers, health agencies, industry, hospitals, advocacy groups, insurers and consumers.

The report highlights atrial fibrillation, acid reflux, hearing loss, preventing falls in older adults, inflammatory disease, and prostate cancer as high priority conditions for examining the comparative effectiveness of treatments.

The press release is worth a quick read as it includes names of members of the IOM committee preparing the report - some of whom might be based in your area and might make for good interviews.