Which Treatment Works Better?: A Look at Ways to Improve the Quality of Medical Decisions

April 27, 2007

There is mounting research highlighting poor quality of care and inefficient spending in our health care system. At the same time, diagnostic and treatment options proliferate at an accelerating pace.

Faced with these trends, policy makers are searching for ways to help payers, providers and consumers make more informed decisions about coverage and use of available treatments. One idea that has recently moved to the forefront is the notion of developing a process for evaluating the comparative effectiveness of various health technologies and procedures. The goal is to provide information about how well different treatments stack up against one another, as opposed to most current clinical research, which compares the treatment to a placebo or to the absence of treatment.

Who should conduct this research — a governmental entity, a private group or some hybrid agency? How would comparative research be financed, and how much financing would be needed? How would research priorities be set? How would findings translate into coverage and payment policy?

To discuss these and related questions, The Commonwealth Fund and the Alliance for Health Reform sponsored an April 27 luncheon briefing. Panelists included: Steven Pearson, senior fellow at America’s Health Insurance Plans; Ian Spatz, vice president for public policy for Merck & Co.; Sean Tunis, director of the Center for Medical Technology Policy; and Gail Wilensky, senior fellow at Project HOPE. Ed Howard of the Alliance and Stuart Guterman of Commonwealth co-moderated.


Full Transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF)

Speaker Presentations

Pearson Presentation (Adobe Acrobat PDF)
Tunis Presentation (Adobe Acrobat PDF)
Wilensky Presentation (Adobe Acrobat PDF)

Event Details

Speaker Biographies (Adobe Acrobat PDF)

Event Resources