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Dr. Ted Feldman, NorthShore University HealthSystem, Evanston IL, explains the challenges involved in comparing the effectiveness of treatments.
In recent discussions surrounding the Health Reform Bill proposed by President Barack Obama, you may have heard the term comparative effectiveness research, or CER. CER is not a clinical trial and is not part of the FDA approval process. The idea of CER is that researchers and scientists gather evidence and compare surgeries, medical devices, drugs, tests, or health care services, and weigh the effectiveness, benefits, and potential harms of each of these treatment options against one another. This evidence will then help physicians and patients determine what procedure, medication, or treatment will be the most effective method to treat a condition.