Recommendations for how the Health and Human Services Office of the Secretary will spend $400 million in funds for patient-centered research, also known as comparative effectiveness research, were released today by Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER).

The report, mandated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is designed to help the HHS Secretary and lawmakers improve the quality of care for patients, and provide patients and doctors the best information possible to make decisions about health care.

The Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research report also catalogues current federal activities on CER, which had not been previously inventoried.  The new report is available [removed]online[/removed].

"This essential patient centered research will help give patients and doctors more information so they can make the best decisions," said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "The council has produced an important tool that will help us better target our investments in this vital area of health care research. I was impressed by the amount of public input that was incorporated into their report; especially the focus on funding research for populations who have been left behind or left out."

The council was charged by Congress with the task of identifying key areas of comparative effectiveness research where funding could make the greatest impact to improve health outcomes for our nation. The council heard many perspectives, including public input from hundreds of diverse stakeholders, which influenced the entire report. The report includes a definition of CER, criteria for determining which research projects should be a priority, and a strategic framework to identify gaps and future priorities.

The council focused on the unique role that the Office of Secretary funds could play in complementing and leveraging funding currently
allocated to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, National Institutes of Health, and other government agencies. Recommendations include the following:

  • It is critically important to be able to share the results of comparative effectiveness  research with doctors and patients and make better investments in how information is disseminated;
  • Research should focus on the needs of priority populations such as racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, persons with multiple chronic conditions, the elderly, and children;
  • Research should be in specific high-impact health arenas such as medical and assistive devices, surgical procedures, behavioral interventions and prevention; and
  • Investments should be made in data infrastructure such as linking current data sources to enable answering CER questions, development of distributed electronic data networks and partnerships with the private sector.

The council’s report will help to inform Secretary Sebelius’ submission of an operational plan for the combined $1.1 billion allocated for
patient-centered research, which includes the $400 million allocated to the Office of the Secretary at HHS.  This investment will empower
clinicians and patients with the information needed to achieve the best outcomes possible.

Source: HHS