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Comparative effectiveness research (CER) is a broad concept that includes different methods for synthesizing existing evidence and for generating new evidence through a variety of types of research studies. The goal is to help identify which test or treatment options work best for different kinds of patients. In addition to improving the outcomes for individual patients, this research, it is hoped, will give all health care stakeholders the means to make decisions and set policies that will ultimately shift care to highervalue options across the health care system.

The 2010 federal stimulus legislation provided $1.1 billion to the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to finance CER, including funding for studies and for the development of patient databases and other data collecting tools. In addition, under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a new non-profit corporation, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) was established. The entity is governed by a board consisting of the directors of AHRQ and NIH (or their designees) and 17 members appointed by the Comptroller General of the United States. It is responsible for setting the national agenda for comparative effectiveness research as well as distributing funding, disseminating results, and providing annual reports to the President and Congress. The recent Supreme Court decision on the ACA upholding the constitutionality of the law means that PCORI can continue its work, although there will almost certainly continue to be challenges to its funding from Republican members of Congress.

Some medical researchers, consumer groups, unions, insurance companies, and others that support comparative effectiveness research say that it is one way to eliminate ineffective treatments and reduce federal health spending. Skeptics of such research -- which include some pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, medical trade groups, and consumer groups -- have expressed concern that the research could lead to rationed health care, inadequate treatment for some patients, such as those in minority groups, and restricted efforts at personalized medicine.

The purpose of the National Comparative Effectiveness Summit is to provide an understanding of what has changed now that comparative effectiveness is an institutionalized part of the American healthcare system. Summit presentations will draw lessons from CER experience in other countries and identify the practical implications of CER for various actors in the healthcare marketplace, including payors and health plans, hospital and health systems, physician organizations, clinicians and other healthcare professionals, and pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device manufacturers.

  • Employers and Other Payors
  • Health Plan Representatives
  • Hospital and Health System Representatives
  • Medical Group and IPA Representatives
  • Healthcare Group Purchasing Organization Representatives
  • Healthcare Executives and Administrators
  • Clinicians and Other Healthcare Professionals
  • Healthcare Compliance Professionals and Legal Counsel
  • Pharmaceutical, Biotech and Medical Device Manufacturers
  • Disease Management and Health Promotion Companies
  • Information Technology Vendors
  • Consumer/Patient Advocates
  • Academics
  • State and Federal Regulatory Officials
  • Capitol Hill Staff
  • Administration and Congressional Representatives
  • Health Service Researchers
  • Health Policy Experts


    • Update from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)
    • Current AHRQ and NIH Activity in Comparative Effectiveness Research
    • Lessons Learned from Major Published CER Studies and their Adoption or Lack Thereof
    • What Decision Makers Need from CER: Payers, Providers, and Patients
    • Using CED to Lower Costs and Improve Outcomes in Medicare
    • Comparative Effectiveness Research -- An International Perspective
    • The Advantages -- and Limits -- of CER
    • Evidence-Based Policy Making in a Polarized Environment
    • Innovation and the Road Ahead


    • Health Plan and ACO Use of CER
    • Getting CER into Clinical Practice: Academic Detailing and Educational Outreach
    • Communicating CER Information: the Dueling Goals of Public Health and Commercial Speech
    • Methodology and Findings from Three CER Studies of Specific Populations/Procedures

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