About Us

Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER)

CER is the generation and synthesis of evidence that compares the benefits and harms of alternative methods to prevent, diagnose, treat, and monitor a clinical condition or to improve the delivery of care. (Institute of Medicine)

CER is designed to inform health care decisions by providing evidence on the effectiveness, benefits, and harms of different treatment options. The evidence is generated from research studies that compare drugs, medical devices, tests, surgeries, or ways to deliver health care.

What differentiates CER from conventional medical research is that it is demand-driven rather than investigator-driven. Demand is defined by the needs of decision-makers, including public and private payers, clinicians, patients, and professionals.

Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR)

PCOR helps patients and their families make better health care decisions. This research is guided by patients, caregivers, and the broader health care community to help patients and medical decision-makers select the most appropriate treatments.

PCOR includes research not focused solely on comparisons of treatments, but also on broader aspects of health care delivery, such as quality of care and dissemination of health information.

PCOR answers patient-centered questions such as:

  • Given my personal characteristics, conditions, and preferences, what should I expect will happen to me?
  • What are my options and what are the potential benefits and harms of those options?
  • What can I do to improve the outcomes that are most important to me?
  • How can clinicians and the care delivery systems they work in help me make the best decisions about my health and health care?

Building a Patient-Centered Research Community

CER and PCOR in the Spotlight

CER and PCOR were thrust into the spotlight in 2009 with the passage of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act and in 2010 with the Affordable Care Act. In 2012, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) began to implement its national research agenda and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) continued to expand CER-PCOR infrastructure development. As a result, there has been heightened attention on the patient and patient engagement aspects of health care research, decision-making, and dissemination.

UMB is the home of the CER-PCOR Work Group for individuals interested or actively involved in comparative effectiveness and patient-centered outcomes research.