An Evaluation of Recent Federal Spending on Comparative Effectiveness Research

Joshua S. Benner, Marisa R. Morrison, Erin K. Karnes, S. Lawrence Kocot, and Mark B. McClellan

ABSTRACT: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 included new funding for developing better evidence about health interventions, with a down payment of $1.1 billion for comparative effectiveness research. Our analysis of funds allocated in the legislation found that nearly 90 percent of the $1.1 billion will eventually be spent on two main types of activities: developing and synthesizing comparative effectiveness evidence, and improving the capacity to conduct comparative effectiveness research. Based on our analysis, priorities for the new funding should include greater emphasis on experimental research; evaluation of reforms at the health system level; identification of effects on subgroups of patients; inclusion of understudied groups of patients; and dissemination of results.

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