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The Facts About Comparative Effectiveness Research
As Congressional and public debate over health care reform grows more intense, comparative effectiveness research (CER) has emerged as an unlikely flashpoint of controversy. Opponents’ claims that CER results in the rationing of health care or a government takeover are belied by the true nature of such research: it is simply fundamental scientific research of medical treatments aimed at determining the most effective ways to treat sickness and injury. It is the basis of all advancements in the field of medical science and has been used throughout history to improve medical treatment. The results of such research are used to create treatment guidelines, which are then incorporated by physicians in determining the best course of care for each individual patient.
The tremendous need for this research is made clear by studies showing that only a minority of medical treatments currently being used are supported by valid research. As medical innovation accelerates, with new techniques, drugs, and devices entering the market daily, the need to gauge the effectiveness of these innovations increases.
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