Patients and physicians often perceive the current health care system to be unfair, in part because of the ways in which coverage decisions appear to be made. To address this problem the Ethical Force Program, a collaborative effort to create quality improvement tools for ethics in health care, has developed five content areas specifying ethical criteria for fair health care benefits design and administration. Each content area includes concrete recommendations and measurable expectations for performance improvement, which can be used by (...) those organizations involved in the design and administration of health benefits packages, such as purchasers, health plans, benefits consultants, and practitioner groups. (shrink)
"Cluster randomized trials," in which groups of patients are randomly assigned to different therapeutic interventions, provide a powerful way of evaluating drugs. CRTs have not been widely used, in good part because of concerns about whether patients must give informed consent to participate in them. A better understanding of how CRTs fit into clinical practice resolves the concerns.