Searching World For Effective Care

Comparative effectiveness is a relatively new concept in the United States, so the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions examined how well it works in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and Germany. Comparative effectiveness compares two or more treatments for a given condition. Studies may compare similar treatments, such as two drugs, or very different approaches, such as surgery and drug therapy.

Deloitte looked at diagnostic screening detection for colon cancer, the use of statins for the treatment of elevated cholesterol, and surgery for benign prostatic hyperplasia. The findings suggest that if implemented correctly, comparative effectiveness has the potential to improve care and reduce health care costs for Americans.

“Comparative effectiveness can be seen as an engine for renewed innovation in the design and delivery of evidence-based care,” says Paul H. Keckley, PhD, executive director.

The report points out that although the annual cost of health care in the United States is $2 trillion, less than 1 percent is invested in assessing the comparative effectiveness of available interventions. According to the report, although the American Recovery and Reconstruction Act of 2009 allocated $1.1 billion to comparative effectiveness research, “The cost of building national programs and establishing a comparative effectiveness framework; support for clinical trials, syntheses and analytics; and the development of education strategies will challenge this initial investment.”

In Britain and Australia, the comparative effectiveness data actually determine national health benefits. In Germany and Canada, the link is less overt.

“For comparative effectiveness to work in the United States, it will require cooperation between all stakeholders, from life sciences companies to payers, providers, policymakers, and consumers, to achieve maximum benefit,” says Terry Hisey, a vice chairman of Deloitte.