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AHRQ: Methods Guide for Comparative Effectiveness Reviews

Newsletter excerpts from AHRQ News and Numbers 3/16/09 Issue #272 :

AHRQ is excited about the new opportunities under ARRA to provide patients, clinicians, and others evidence-based information to make informed decisions about health care. ARRA contains $1.1 billion for comparative effectiveness research. Of the total, $300 million is for AHRQ to build on its existing collaborative and transparent Effective Health Care program… Of the remaining funds,$400 million each will go to NIH and the Office of the HHS Secretary. The legislation calls on the IOM to recommend research priorities for these funds and gather stakeholder input. [Report due 6/30/09]. In addition, the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research will be created to offer guidance and coordination on the use of these funds.

One of many helpful and educational topics: AHRQ the Methods Guide for Comparative Effectiveness Reviews:
Effectiveness and Comparative Effectiveness Reviews, systematic reviews of existing research on the effectiveness, comparative effectiveness, and comparative harms of different health care interventions, are intended to provide relevant evidence to inform real-world health care decisions for patients, providers, and policymakers. In an effort to improve the transparency, consistency, and scientific rigor of the work of the Effective Health Care Program, through a collaborative effort, [AHRQ], the Scientific Resource Center, and the Evidence-based Practice Centers have developed a Methods Guide for Comparative Effectiveness Reviews. We intend that these documents will serve as a resource for our EPCs as well as for other investigators interested in conducting Comparative Effectiveness Reviews....The first draft of the Methods Guide for Comparative Effectiveness Reviews was posted for public comment for 8 weeks in late 2007.... In response to requests from investigators and others interested in Comparative Effectiveness Review methods, we have reposted the original chapters of the draft guide….Comments and suggestions on the Methods Guide for Comparative Effectiveness Reviews and the Effective Health Care Program can be made at http://effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov. (1)

Patients, health care providers (including nurses, doctors and other clinicians),and policymakers all share an interest in making the best health decisions. One of the greatest challenges is finding reliable and practical data that can inform these decisions.... The Effective Health Care Program follows 3 approaches to research in order to provide current, unbiased evidence on health care interventions.
-Review and synthesize published and unpublished scientific evidence.
-Promote and generate new scientific evidence and analytic tools in an accelerated and practical format.
-Compile the findings and translate them into a variety of useful formats for stakeholders.(2)

(1) http://effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/healthInfo.cfm?infotype=rr&ProcessID=60

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