New Tools Aim to Drive Comparative Effectiveness Research

Pharmacists and physicians can access a new site to help understand and apply comparative effectiveness research evidence in clinical practice.

Researchers from the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy are collaborating with other organizations to launch 2 online tools to help health care professionals access, understand, and apply comparative effectiveness research (CER) evidence in clinical practice.

The tools, which are developed for quick and easy access, include a comprehensive glossary of CER terms and an interactive table of CER documents to help users quickly locate relevant, medication-related evidence syntheses and comparative evidence. The tools can be accessed at this site by clicking on the links “CER Glossary” and “Link to CER Documents” both of which are located on the bottom left side.

Comparative effectiveness research provides evidence from studies comparing the effectiveness, benefits, and harmful effects of different treatment options, including drugs, medical devices, diagnostics, surgeries and healthcare delivery methods. CER is real-world research that helps clinicians and patients decide the best therapeutic choice for each individual circumstance. Pharmacists and physicians generally have not encountered CER methods in their clinical training, nor have they learned where to find CER evidence efficiently.

Daniel Malone, PhD, professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science at the UA College of Pharmacy, heads the project, which is funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The aim of the initiative is to make pharmacists and physicians who serve on or support pharmacy and therapeutics committees aware of this evidence and to facilitate its use in making drug policy decisions. The information is expected to be helpful to a broad spectrum of health care professionals.

In addition to the online tools, the research team developed a 4-hour, live educational program for health care professionals who serve on or support pharmacy and therapeutics committees. The CER program will be offered as a free, preconference workshop at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy Fall Meeting in Atlanta on October 19, and at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Research and Education Foundation Midyear Meeting in New Orleans on December 4. Program participants will receive 3.5 hours of CE/CME credit.

“These materials can be time-savers for pharmacists and physicians as they implement drug use management techniques,” said Malone. “The educational program will provide attendees with hands-on experience on CER evidence and will provide tools that are readily accessible through our website.”

For more information about the online tools and to learn more about attending an upcoming comparative effectiveness research workshop, click here.