Let Comparative Effectiveness Help Docs to Select Right Tools

John Marcille

Even though physicians are highly trained and generally very intelligent (actually, at the top of all occupations in IQ, according to one study), they face a challenge with which we are all too familiar. There’s almost too much information out there, and not all of it good and sufficient for their needs. Is the therapy they are prescribing actually the most effective, which doctors tend to care a lot about? Is it the most economical, which doctors care less about, but which means a lot to insurers and their clients?

Search for “best practice protocols” on Google and you’ll get 15 million hits. Health plan executives have long pushed a system where the doctor would know the right medicine (actual and metaphorical) for whatever condition he or she faces.

Now, thanks to $1 billion in federal funding, the quest gets even more intense, though the name of the goal changes. Our cover story on “comparative effectiveness research” (CER) begins on page 14. Contributing Editor Martin Sipkoff does a nice job tracking this latest push to get better information into doctors’ hands about which drug, device, treatment, or diagnostic tool is best for specific medical conditions.

“This is information they now lack,” Mark Fendrick, MD, a professor in the department of internal medicine at the University of Michigan medical school and a strong advocate of CER, tells Martin.

With so many federal dollars now involved the situation will hopefully improve.

Brent James, MD, a key researcher at Intermountain Healthcare and one who knows an awful lot about processes of care, says, “I have a hard time imagining why anyone has even the slightest problem with it.”

So do we, but remember, this is health care we’re talking about.

Career Opportunities

HAP, a subsidiary of Henry Ford Health System, is a nonprofit health plan providing coverage to individuals, companies and organizations. This executive develops strategies to meet membership and revenue targets through products, pricing, market segmentation and advertising.  Aligns business among Business Development, Commercial Sales, Medicare and Public Sector Programs and Product Development. Seeks to enhance and be responsible for business development and expansion through the development of an effective product portfolio, strong interpersonal relationships and service excellence.

Apply via email to jfedder1@hfhs.org or online at http://p.rfer.us/HENRYFORDlXqAJA

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