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Comparative Effectiveness ResearchEvidence, Medicine, and Policy$
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Carol M. Ashton and Nelda P. Wray

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199968565

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199968565.001.0001

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Comparative Effectiveness Research

Comparative Effectiveness Research

A New “Silver Bullet” for U.S. Health Care Costs

(p.121) 6 Comparative Effectiveness Research
Comparative Effectiveness Research

Carol M. Ashton

Nelda P. Wray

Oxford University Press

In the early 2000’s “comparative effectiveness research”—finding out what works best in medicine—took its place in the parade of legislative proposals aimed at controlling the nation’s unsustainable rise in health care costs. Though many policymakers believed that it was a new kind of research, all that was new was the label: comparative effectiveness research is simply a kind of clinical research. However, its intense appeal as a policy solution grew out of an idea that became a mantra during the 2000’s: that 30% of health care is wasted—wasted because it does not improve patients’ outcomes. If comparative effectiveness research could identify those ineffective or low-value health care items and services, the thinking went, then they could be eliminated without any harmful effects, objectionable alternatives like rationing could be avoided, and the value of the health care dollar would increase.

Keywords:   Comparative effectiveness research, John E. Wennberg, Geographic variations in medical care, Elliott Fisher, Business case for comparative effectiveness research, Comparative effectiveness research: a public good

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