Baucus blinks, CER is out, PCOR is in

September 14, 2010
Ronald Piana

In today’s heated healthcare debate, nuance matters, so does public perception. The term comparative effectiveness research, once the darling of policy wonks, had perception problems right out of the gate. So, the research stays, but the term goes.

In today’s heated healthcare debate, nuance matters, so does public perception. The term comparative effectiveness research, once the darling of policy wonks, had perception problems right out of the gate. So, the research stays, but the term goes.

As the debate on creating a public/private entity to conduct comparative effectiveness research was heating up, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mt.) decided that the term “comparative effectiveness research” was becoming too controversial and rebranded the term in health care reform legislation to “patient-centered outcomes research.”

In short, CER had become too linked to issues such as whether research data would limit physician’s latitude for prescribing and whether costs might play a determining role.

The rebranding effort appears to be taking off now that health care reform is law and “PCORI”-as the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute is called-is being implemented.

HHS embraced the terminology revamp with its Sept. 1 announcement of grants to bolster research capabilities in health facilities, with a focus on diverse populations. The announcement says the $17 million in awards will go toward “patient-centered outcomes research” or PCOR. Interestingly, the entire release eschews the loaded CER terminology, save for a link for more information on "about patient-centered and comparative effectiveness research" in the second to last sentence.

CER/PCOR stakeholders are now eagerly watching for HHS to name the first board members of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, created as part of the health reform initiative. One key issue facing the group is how to effectively disseminate research findings. Who knows? Perhaps research branded as PCOR will be more effective than that branded as CER.


 

Related Content:

News