Clinical research presents health care providers with information on the natural history and clinical presentations of disease as well as diagnostic and treatment options. Consumers, patients, and caregivers also require this information to decide how to evaluate and treat their conditions. All too often, the information necessary to inform these medical decisions is incomplete or unavailable, resulting in more than half of the treatments delivered today lacking clear evidence of effectiveness.
Comparative effectiveness research (CER) identifies what works best for which patients under what circumstances. Congress, in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, tasked the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to recommend national priorities for research questions to be addressed by CER and supported by ARRA funds. In its 2009 report, Initial National Priorities for Comparative Effectiveness Research, the authoring committee establishes a working definition of CER, develops a priority list of research topics to be undertaken with ARRA funding using broad stakeholder input, and identifies the necessary requirements to support a robust and sustainable CER enterprise. The full list of priorities and recommendations can be found in the below report brief.