HHS to Track Research on Comparative Effectiveness

July 20, 2010

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced plans to develop a national inventory of research to help guide decision making and improve health outcomes.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced plans to develop a national inventory of research on the treatments and interventions that are most effective. The comparative research will be available through a searchable online database for physicians, policymakers and the public, according to a request for information posted July 16 on the Federal Register.

The overarching goal of the program, according to HHS, is “to improve health outcomes by providing evidence to enhance medical decisions made by patients and their medical providers.”

Funding for the database will come from the $1.1 billion allotted for comparative effectiveness research as part of ARRA; of that amount, $300 will go to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), $400 million to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and $400 million for allocation at the discretion of the Secretary.

According to an HHS statement, the inventory will act as a “living document” by providing access to data for interested individuals and organizations; enabling a method for updating research; and identifying priorities for future research. IT will include research records, such as abstracts and other summary descriptions, resources on methods and training for comparative effectiveness research, data infrastructure and databases to support the research, said an online report.

The HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation is accepting suggestions for developing the inventory until Aug. 9.