University of Nebraska Medical Center

Comparative Effectiveness Research

The federal Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has concisely defined Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) as research that provides evidence on the “effectiveness, benefits, and harms of different treatment options”. Research studies can generate data that compares drugs, medical devices, tests, surgeries, or ways to deliver health care two ways.

  • From existing clinical trials, clinical studies, and other research, either as research reviews, that serve as systematic reviews of existing evidence, as well as epidemiologic research from large de-identified data sets
  • New evidence generated from the conduct of new studies or trials that directly compare two or more effective approaches to testing, treatment, or health-care services to determine which is better (e.g., bariatric surgery vs. exercise for weight loss; cell phone vs. web-based dissemination of patient information to change cardiac outcomes)

Needs Statement

Comparative Effectiveness Research is rising in prominence in biomedical research for economic, research, and medical practice reasons. The Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research and the Institute of Medicine identified the need for further investigation and funding, particularly to focus on reducing health disparities and improving research dissemination. As a result, the Affordable Care Act through the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund created a new Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to authorize and fund research evaluating health outcomes of existing approved medical treatments.

Program Purpose

The purpose of the Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) program is to bring together faculty from all UNMC colleges and disciplines to identify knowledge gaps in the effectiveness of clinical care and then prioritize, promote, and stimulate comparative effectiveness research in these areas. Prioritization of CER program development will increase Nebraska researchers’ ability to compete for independent extramural funding from national sponsors and to develop the real-world evidence and tools that are vital for the improvement of the effectiveness and efficiency of health-care delivery at the local, state and national level. This research will, in turn, be available to patients, providers, and decision-makers within Nebraska Medicine to enhance the quality of patient care. The program is currently seeking to recruit a physician scientist to be its Director.

Program Goals

The program provides the infrastructure to better coordinate research and evidence into clinical practice required to compete for CER grants and mentor additional faculty to be successful in this type of research. This research, in turn, informs patients, providers, and decision-makers, responding to their expressed needs, about which interventions are most effective for which patients under specific circumstances. A secondary purpose is to improve health communications and health literacy through patient focused emphasis. The program:

  • Conducts systematic reviews of the medical and healthcare literature
  • Analyzes data from large data sets and randomized clinical trials that can provide insight into the most effective and safe treatments and inform further rigorous clinical studies
  • Designs and conducts comparative effectiveness trials across the region to improve translation of research into practice and policy through new interventions and strategies to prevent, diagnose, treat and monitor medical conditions

Our work uses methods endorsed by the Institute of Medicine by creating a priority list for Comparative Effectiveness Research studies that includes the following:

  • Process for obtaining input from and consultation with stakeholders
  • Development and consideration of written priority setting criteria
  • Commitment to developing a broad-based portfolio of high priority topics
  • Voting process to narrow the nominated topics
  • Stakeholder discussion of highest-scored topics
  • Prioritization of topics should be a sustained and on-going process recognizing the dynamic state of disease, interventions and public concern
  • Involvement of consumers, patients, and caregivers in key aspects of Comparative Effectiveness Research including planning, priority setting, research proposal development, peer review, and dissemination

Campus Research Retreat

The Campus Research Retreat is an opportunity for clinical and basic science investigators to meet and mingle with colleagues, and learn about translational research possibilities and resources at UNMC. The Retreat is especially beneficial for investigators in departments with emerging translational programs, and those programs moving into new scholarly directions.

This event exists to strengthen collaboration of basic and clinical researchers and foster translational research. It  is open to all COM faculty/staff/students interested in translational research and held on an annual basis.

The 2022 Campus Research Retreat took place on October 18, 2022 as part of the Biomedical and Health Informatics Conference.

Materials from the event can be accessed by UNMC faculty/staff/students.