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The Rocky Road from Efficacy to Effectiveness: Overview and Critique of CER. Ian D. Coulter Ph.D. RAND/Samueli Chair in Integrative Medicine & Senior Health Policy Scientist, RAND Corporation; Professor, UCLA; Adjunct Research Faculty, Southern California University of Health Sciences.

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ian d coulter ph d
Ian D. Coulter Ph.D.

RAND/Samueli Chair in Integrative Medicine &

Senior Health Policy Scientist, RAND Corporation;

Professor, UCLA;

Adjunct Research Faculty, Southern California University of Health Sciences

slide3
Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER)

IOM DEFINITION

Effectiveness Research (CER)

Comparison of effectiveness of interventions among patients in a typical patient care setting with decisions tailored to individual need.

Pragmatic trials (as opposed to explanatory)

Head to head trials

CER

What is CER

efficacy vs effectiveness
Efficacy Vs Effectiveness

Efficacy Tests a therapy under ideal conditions using the RCT. But practice ultimately needs therapy that works under normal practice i.e. effectiveness studies. A therapy that has efficacy may not be effective and those of equal efficacy may not have equal effectiveness. Effectiveness must take into account the total health encounter and must be grounded in what actually occurs in the encounter.

slide5

NIH

So that is real money

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (generally referred to as the stimulus package), has allocated $1.1 billion “down payment” to fund comparative effectiveness research

slide6

So how is this money to be spent?

$300 million for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), $400 million for the National Institutes of Health, and $400 million for allocation at the discretion of the Secretary of Health and Human Services

slide7

Agency for Health Research Quality

AHRQ

Effective Health Care Program whose purpose is to fund research that provides reliable and practical data that can inform decisions in clinical practice.

slide8

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

NCCAM

Request for research proposals for Comparative Effectiveness Studies of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Observational studies or secondary data analyses to compare the effectiveness or cost-effectiveness of:

1) CAM used in addition to standard conventional care

2) CAM or integrative health care versus standard conventional care

3) one CAM therapy to another

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The Good

  • The move away from privileging RCTs above all other evidence
  • Recognition that RCTs do not answer questions of effectiveness
  • Placing the interests of patients and providers above or equal to that of scientists
  • A recognition of the role of observational data
  • Solves some of the ethical

issues around RCTs

  • Solves some of the methodological challenges of RCTs in CAM
  • Average patients with average providers in average clinic
  • Moves us towards whole systems research

Puts the “P” back into “EBP”

slide10

The Bad

  • Still a bit focused on “trials”
  • Does not go far enough
  • Does not get at the health encounter
  • Problem of replication
slide11

The Weakness of CER

  • To the extent the provider is free to do what they want, it is difficult to know what was done
  • To the extent we do not know what was done we do not know what contributes to the outcome
  • To the extent we do not know what was done we do not know what to replicate or how to do so
slide12

Descriptive Studies

In the most CER cases we lack a body of descriptive studies that would tell us what the treatment & the health encounter includes. We are not even sure about how we might collect such data or what is important to collect

slide13

So what can we do?

1) Health Services research on effectiveness

2) Observation studies

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Health Services Research

“Investigation of the relationship between social structure, process and outcomes for personal health services, a transaction between a client and a provider to promote health”

Institute for Medicine 1979. HSR focuses on the total organization of health care.

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Heath Services Research

  • Links structure, process & outcomes
  • Measure quality of care
  • Evaluates access, cost, utilization & services
  • Measures health care need and risks
  • Determines patient values & satisfaction & HRQOL
  • Determines appropriateness of care
  • Determines effectiveness of care
  • Uses methods beyond RCTs – e.g. program evaluation
  • Is multi-disciplinary
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HSR with its focus on linking outcomes to structure and process, its work on cost and cost benefit introduces a badly needed dose of realism into the EBP movement and to CER.

slide18

Observation Studies

Stroup et al.

“an effectiveness study using data from an existing data base, a cross sectional study, a case series, a case control design, a design with historical controls, or a cohort design”

Challenges

No randomization

Cannot measure efficacy

Cannot assess bias

Cannot be pooled for analysis

slide19

Sociological Anthropological Observation Studies

  • Participant observation studies
  • Rapid ethnographic observation
  • Contextual analysis
  • Social/cultural context
  • Negotiation
  • Meaning
  • Health Encounter as the unit of analysis and as a contributor to outcomes
  • Provide understanding for effectiveness
  • Chiropractic HSR vs Social science observation
slide20

Chiropractic HSR vs Social science observation

  • HSR
  • Musculoskeletal specialists
  • Narrow scope
  • Manipulation
  • Back problems
  • Ethnographic Observations
  • Holistic
  • Broad scope
  • Wellness practitioners
conclusion
Conclusion
  • The money is great
  • The focus is better
  • The promise is good but we are still not sure about the delivery
  • On paper it is good news
  • But it needs to go further
slide22

Dedicated to Sir David Low and COLONEL BLIMP

“Gad, sir, reforms are all right as long as they don't change anything.'

references
References
  • Zwarenstein M, Treweek S. What kind of randomized trials do we need? CMAJ May 12, 2009; 180(10): 998-1000.
  • Luce BR, Kramer JM, Goodman SN, Connor J, Tunis S, Whicker D, Schwartz S. Rethinking Randomized Clinical Trials for Comparative Effectiveness Research: The Need for Transformational Change. Annals of Internal Medicine, August 4, 2009; 151(3): 206-209.
  • Thorpe KE, A Pragmatic-Explanatory Continuum Indicator Summary (PRECIS). Dalla Lana School of Public Health. May 8, 2009.
  • Sox H., Greenfield S. Comparative Effectiveness Research: A Report From the Institute of Medicine. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2009; 151: 203-205.
  • Chiappelli F, Cajulis O, Newman M. Comparative Effectiveness Research in Evidence-Based Dental Practice. J Evid Base Dent Pract 2009; 9: 57-58.
references1
References
  • Coulter ID, Khorsan R. Chapter 7, Health Services Research. IN Lewith G, Jonas W, Walach H (Eds.) Clinical Research in Complementary Therapies 2c. Elsevier; Oxford, England
  • Coulter ID, Khorsan R.Is Health Services Research the Holy Grail of CAM Research? (Review Article) Alternative Therapies Health Med 2007. Altern Ther Health Med. 2008 July/Aug;14(4):40-5.
  • Coulter ID. Competing Views of Chiropractic: Health Services Research versus Ethnographic Observation. Chapter 3 IN: Oths KS, Hinojosa SZ (eds). Healing by Hand. Manual Medicine and Bonesetting in Global Perspective. AltaMira Press: Walnut Creek, CA, 2004.
  • Coulter ID. Comparative Effectiveness Research: Does the Emperor Have Clothes? Alternative Therapies Health Med 2011; 17(2):8-15.
  • CoulterID, Khorsan R. Health Services Research as a Form of Evidence for CAM?  In: Lewith G, Jonas W, Walach H (Eds.) Clinical Research in Complementary Therapies, 2nd edition. Elsevier; Oxford, England; Chapter 7 pages 119-134, 2011.
  • Linde K, Coulter ID.   Systematic reviews and meta-analyses. In: Lewith G, Jonas W, Walach H (Eds.) Clinical Research in Complementary Therapies, 2nd edition.  Elsevier; Oxford, England. 2011.