Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER), as defined by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, is the conduct and synthesis of systematic research comparing different interventions and strategies to prevent, diagnose, treat, and monitor health conditions. The purpose of this research is to inform patients, providers, and decision-makers, responding to their expressed needs, about which interventions are most effective for which patients under specific circumstances. To provide this information, comparative effectiveness research must assess a comprehensive array of health-related outcomes for diverse patient populations. Defined interventions compared may include medications, procedures, medical and assistive devices and technologies, behavioral change strategies, and delivery system interventions. This research necessitates the development, expansion, and use of a variety of data sources and methods to assess comparative effectiveness.

For the last several years, Friends of Cancer Research (Friends) has been a thought leader in CER and its advancement in the cancer field. Numerous studies exploring the efficacy and implementation of CER in oncology are available below.

Expanding Comparative Effectiveness Research: Priority Areas in Oncology (2011)

Improving Medical Decisions Through Comparative Effectivenes Research (2010)

Improving Medical Decisions Through Comparative Effectiveness Research: Cancer as a Case Study (2009)

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is a non-profit, independent organization charged with producing and promoting comparative effectiveness research for doctors and patients in order to fill gaps in clinical knowledge. While this research is meant to inform stakeholders, PCORI cannot mandate specific strategies for care.

PCORI is composed of a Board of Governors with 21 members chosen from areas of industry, government, and advocacy. Ellen Sigal, Chairperson and founder of Friends, serves as one of the founding members of this board. PCORI is headed by the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or their designees. Nineteen members of the Board of Governors are appointed to 2-, 4-, and 6-year terms, respectively. PCORI also includes a 17-member methodology committee focused on advancing the science and methodology of comparative effectiveness research.

You can learn more about PCORI at