Comparative effectiveness research (CER) compares the clinical outcomes, effectiveness, and appropriateness of interventions to prevent, diagnose, or treat diseases, disorders, and other health conditions. Such studies can provide information on the relative strengths and weaknesses of various medical interventions and help doctors and their patients make informed decisions about health management.
CER is an emerging research area at NIA, and the Institute supports an evolving portfolio of research exploring CER issues relevant to aging. Of particular interest are studies comparing the effectiveness of health management strategies in people with multiple health conditions or complex syndromes; CER among individuals who take several medications or who are following complex treatment regimens; and studies exploring the effects of coexisting health conditions on safety and effectiveness of interventions.
In 2009, an influx of Recovery Act funding facilitated the expansion of NIA’s CER portfolio, and many projects initially funded by ARRA are continuing. For example:
NIA also collaborates with other NIH Institutes and federal agencies to promote and support CER. For example, a major CER effort has been NIA’s administration, on behalf of the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality and the Office of the DHHS Secretary, of a major research initiative identifying ways that principles of behavioral economics could be used to encourage health care providers to incorporate findings from CER studies into their practices.