Forum Session

Exploring Comparative Effectiveness: Options for Expanding U.S. Capacity
December 17, 2008


Michele J. Orza, ScD


Virtually everyone from the patient to the clinician to public and private payers and insurers is clamoring for more and better evidence about what works to promote health. Yet, even among like-minded proponents of an expanded capacity for comparative effectiveness, there are many different ideas about what form such an endeavor should take. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, a recent Institute of Medicine committee, and draft legislation all have recommended alternative approaches. Proposals range from significantly expanding existing programs at the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality to creating a substantial new public-private entity. Myriad questions are under discussion about the appropriate scope, mandate, focus, structure, location, funding, staffing, etc.

This session was the fifth in a six-part series, and it focused on comparing and contrasting existing proposals that relate to expanding U.S. capacity for developing comparative effectiveness information. The speakers for this session all had extensive experience in the development and application of evidence to health decisions and represented a wide range of perspectives from both the public and private sectors. They discussed the various options for expanding the nation’s capacity for generating more and better information to support choices in personal health, health care, public health, and health policy.


Gail Wilensky, PhD, Senior Fellow, Center for Health Affairs at Project HOPE; Robert S. Galvin, MD, Executive Director of Health Operations and Chief Medical Officer at General Electric; Maria Carolina Hinestrosa, Executive Vice President for Programs and Planning at the National Breast Cancer Coalition; Steven M. Teutsch, MD, Executive Director (retired), U.S. Outcomes Research, Merck & Co., Inc.; Daniel M. Fox, PhD, President Emeritus of the Milbank Memorial Fund.

Slides from the presentations by Dr. Wilensky, Dr. Galvin, and Dr. Teutsch are available for download. Speakers’ biographies are also available.

Related Materials

For more information on the other sessions in this series, see "Exploring Comparative Effectiveness: Fundamentals of Evidence-Based Health and Introduction to the Cochrane Collaboration" (July 25, 2008); "Exploring Comparative Effectiveness: Activities of NIH, FDA, and AHRQ to Advance Evidence-Based Health" (September 26, 2008); "Exploring Comparative Effectiveness: Activities of CDC, VA, and CMS to Advance Evidence-Based Health" (October 3, 2008); "Exploring Comparative Effectiveness: Fundamentals and Controversies of Cost-Effectiveness Analysis" (October 30, 2008); and "Exploring Comparative Effectiveness: Lessons from Across the States and Around the World" (February 27, 2009).

See also "Summary of Comparative Effectiveness Research Legislation in the 110th Congress," which was distributed at the meeting.

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