CER Currently Has Little Impact on Decision Making, but Remains Important

Although healthcare stakeholders view comparative effectiveness research (CER) as important to healthcare, respondents to a survey from the National Pharmaceutical Council admitted that they haven't yet seen the impact of CER.

Although healthcare stakeholders view comparative effectiveness research (CER) as important to healthcare, respondents to a survey from the National Pharmaceutical Council (NPC) admitted that they haven’t yet seen the impact of CER.

Consistent with responses from previous NPC stakeholder surveys, 92% of respondents said they view CER as very or somewhat important.

“CER is meant to provide healthcare decision makers with better information about treatment alternatives, and stakeholders are optimistic that these findings will be put to good use in the near future,” NPC President Dan Leonard said in a statement.

However, CER has not had much of an impact on healthcare decision making just yet, according to the survey respondents. Only 19% say that CER has a moderate to substantial impact. When asked to predict the future impact of CER, respondents said they believe CER’s impact on healthcare decision making won’t be felt for another 3 (83%) or 5 (93%) years.

Every year NPC has asked respondents to predict when CER will impact decisio making, and last year’s projection looks mostly the same as this year’s, according to Kimberly Westrich, vice president for health services research for NPC.

“What I find interesting is how people are continuing to be so optimistic,” she said in a press call.

Half of respondents said there is a growing movement toward widely agreed-upon research standards, which is up sharply from just 24% in 2011. Respondents were a little more negative about research priorities with only 41% saying these priorities adequately address treatment choices facing patients and providers.

Despite increased focus on patient-centered care, the respondents felt much work is left to do. A majority (58%) say that the value of treatments does not take into account factors that matter to patients, such as quality of life and adherence to treatments. Instead, value remains narrowly focused on clinical effectiveness.

“This survey provides an opportunity to reflect on our collective progress and the work ahead to answer through CER the questions that matter most to patients, their caregivers, and healthcare providers,” Joe Selby, MD, MPH, executive director of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, said in a statement.