A Roadmap for State Policymakers to Use Comparative Effectiveness and Patient-Centered Outcomes Research to Inform Decision Making

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Making informed decisions aimed at improving health care access and quality in a rapidly changing health care environment is hard. Recent interest by the federal government and others in funding comparative effectiveness research (CER) and patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) will provide new resources to help inform decision making by policymakers and all involved in the health care system. The purpose of this Roadmap is to guide policymakers in the use of CER and PCOR, as well as other research to support the decision-making process.

Also available: Programs Supporting the Use of Research by State Policymakers


  Outcomes Research Can Inform Policymaking

• What are the desired outcomes for the intervention under consideration?
• Would comparative effectiveness or patient-centered research help in understanding the best course of action to reach the desired outcomes?
• Do stakeholders, experts, and colleagues recognize the utility of CER and PCOR in their work?

  Finding Research and Other Relevant Resources

• What types of research and resources are needed to help make an informed decision?
• Where can the relevant research and resources be found?
• Who can help find relevant research and resources?
• Has another agency or state already conducted or reviewed research for a similar policy or program decision?
• What can be done when research or other resources are not currently available?

  Evaluating the Evidence

• How were the patients or participants selected?
• Was the approach used to analyze the results valid?
• Was the study “patient-centered” and did it include the patient perspectives and priorities?
• What studies besides specific comparative effectiveness research studies might be useful to compare the impact of different interventions?
• How can studies with conflicting findings be evaluated?
• Has enough evidence been found to make an informed decision?
• Who can help evaluate the research findings?

  Using The Evidence To Design A Program Or Policy

• What local, regional, or state data should be used to inform your decision?
• Is implementation of a specific intervention feasible?
• Are there time or resource constraints that will impact feasibility?
• Is there enough buy-in from leadership and stakeholders that this intervention can be successfully implemented?

  Communicating And Disseminating The Decision

• How will different stakeholders react to this decision?
• What information is most important to provide the various stakeholder groups?
• How should the information be presented and delivered to reach different groups?
• Who are the most appropriate representatives to communicate the decision?

Monitoring And Evaluating New Research As It Becomes Available

• What information is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of the selected intervention?
• How can new research be used to impact an existing program or policy?
• How can policymakers build flexibility into programs and policy decisions to ease the use of new research evidence to make modifications?

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