Published 5/1/2011

AAOS sponsors comparative effectiveness research symposium

This month, the AAOS is sponsoring a symposium on comparative effectiveness research (CER). The symposium, which will be held May 19–21 in Washington, D.C., has the following goals:

  • increase understanding of the broad definition of CER
  • highlight the various research design methods available to perform CER
  • identify the various strategies for considering the cost-effectiveness of different treatments as a key aspect of CER
  • identify tools that can be used to measure effectiveness of specific treatments
  • identify what will make CER initiatives successful

The CER symposium will be led by principle investigators James N. Weinstein, DO, MS, director of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice; Kristy L. Weber, MD, chair of the AAOS Council on Research and Quality; and Mark Helfand, MD, MPH, MS, director of the Oregon Evidence-Based Practice Center. Among those invited to attend are orthopaedic surgeons and other medical specialists, young investigators, researchers, and industry and government representatives with a background and interest in CER.

“Comparative effectiveness research, in its broadest sense, refers to the evaluation of the relative clinical effectiveness, safety, and cost of two or more medical services, drugs, devices, therapies, or procedures used to treat the same condition,” explains Dr. Weber. “Although many orthopaedic surgeons are concerned that comparative effectiveness will be equated with cost effectiveness, cost is just one aspect of the equation.

“This is an exciting, timely symposium initiated by the AAOS, with support from the Orthopaedic Research Society and industry,” she continues. “The orthopaedic surgeons present will have a wonderful opportunity to learn from some of the leaders in the field, most of whom are in different specialties.”

Some of the invited notables include Harold Sox, MD, MACP, speaking on CER and value, and Jack Wennberg, MD, PhD, who will deliver the keynote address on how the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services can use CER in payment schemes. Both are from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy. In addition, Carolyn M. Clancy, MD, from the Agency for Health Research and Quality, and Janet Corrigan, PhD, from the National Quality Forum, will be part of the session on translating gaps in evidence to funded trials.

“CER is not a new idea,” notes Charles Turkelson, PhD, director of the AAOS department of research and scientific affairs. “It certainly provides a better basis for decision-making than the historic approach, which simply determines whether a given treatment is better than no treatment at all (placebo).”

According to the AAOS position statement on CER, developing high-quality objective information will improve informed patient choice, shared decision-making, and the clinical effectiveness of physicians’ and other healthcare providers’ treatment recommendations.

Additional Links:
2011 AAOS/ORS Comparative Effectiveness Research Symposium

Position Statement