Improving Health Care Outcomes through Personalized Comparisons of Treatment Effectiveness Based on Electronic Health Records

Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 39 (3):425-436 (2011)
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Abstract

The unsustainable growth in U.S. health care costs is in large part attributable to the rising costs of pharmaceuticals and medical devices and to unnecessary medical procedures. This fact has led health reform advocates and policymakers to place considerable hope in the idea that increased government support for research on the comparative effectiveness of medical treatments will eventually help to reduce health care expenses by informing patients, health care providers, and payers about which treatments for common conditions are effective and which are not. Comparative effectiveness research has shown in some cases that expensive but commonly used treatments are significantly less effective than relatively inexpensive alternatives. Critics warn, however, that CER will homogenize patient care, limit patient choices, and lead to improper health care rationing and even to the denial of lifesaving treatments.

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