Observations Yankee Doodling

PCORI: odd name, important job, potential trouble

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d2635 (Published 04 May 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d2635
  1. Douglas Kamerow, chief scientist, RTI International, and associate editor, BMJ
  1. dkamerow{at}rti.org

A new research institute set up by health reform act begins work in the spotlight

In the past few years there has been much debate in the United States about comparative effectiveness research, defined by the Institute of Medicine as “the generation and synthesis of evidence that compares the benefits and harms of alternative methods to prevent, diagnose, treat, and monitor a clinical condition or to improve the delivery of care.” The institute says that the idea is “to assist consumers, clinicians, purchasers, and policy makers to make informed decisions that will improve health care at both the individual and population levels.”1

Comparative effectiveness research first vaulted into the news here when Congress dedicated $1.1bn (£0.7bn; €0.75bn) to it as part of the fiscal stimulus package passed in 2009, at the height of the recession.2 The Department of Health and Human Services, through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, quickly disbursed those funds to sponsor research and research infrastructure development to improve medical decisions and clinical outcomes by comparing various drugs, treatments, and other interventions.

Some critics, often drug and …

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