One benefit of medical innovation is that it has yielded multiple treatment options for patients who suffer from an array of conditions. Many of these interventions provide relief to seniors suffering from debilitating chronic diseases who do not respond to one form of treatment or who cannot tolerate a specific therapy because they are taking multiple medications to control co-morbid conditions. Some of these treatments can be costly and only provide only marginal benefits to healthier individuals. Comparative effectiveness research evaluates and compares the implications and outcomes of health care strategies to address a particular medical condition. CER can be a valuable asset to physicians and patients by enabling them to consider available scientific evidence, along with the individual patient’s unique needs and preferences, in providing the best care for each patient.
In an effort to better measure the effectiveness of treatments and interventions, Congress and the Obama Administration explored may different options as part of comprehensive health care reform in 2009 to create an entity that would conduct comparative effectiveness research. They also provided substantial funds as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to the existing agencies with capabilities to conduct CER. During this time, the Alliance for Aging Research successfully advocated for the creation of an independent, non-government institute by Congress that will set research priorities, fund comparative clinical effectiveness research, and communicate results to the public. The Alliance also sought the inclusion of strong requirements for openness, transparency, and scientific integrity at the institute, as well as patient protections against misuse of research results by policymakers.
The Agency for Heath Research and Quality (AHRQ), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will continue to utilize funding from ARRA for the expressed purpose of conducting CER through 2010. Provisions from health reform legislation to create a patient-centered comparative research institute will also begin to take shape.
Goal: Support implementation of health reform provisions to create a patient-centered comparative research institute. Ensure that adequate funding for the institute is available and remain engaged so that research carried out by this institute, AHRQ and NIH accounts for the unique needs of elderly patients.