Online Program

Evidentiary Challenges in Comparative Effectiveness Research

*Sally C. Morton, Biostatistics, University of Pittsburgh 

Keywords: comparative effectiveness research; meta-analysis; systematic reviews

“What healthcare treatment works best, for whom, and under what circumstances?” is the central question of comparative effectiveness research (CER). In this talk, I will focus on how evidence is generated, analyzed, and used in CER decision-making, particularly the synthesis and interpretation of data in systematic reviews. I will begin by addressing which study designs and data sources are applicable for different sorts of CER questions. I will then discuss systematic review methods for assessing the strength of evidence when synthesizing data across a group of studies. These assessments are used for decisions at the individual patient level as well as the public health perspective, for example to determine clinical practice guidelines. The challenges inherent in these methods will be presented, along with the results from a reliability study. The implications for CER conclusions will be considered.