Comparative Effectiveness Could Have ‘Profound, Positive Effect on How Medical Decisions Are Made,’ Sun Opinion Piece Says
Comparative effectiveness research "could have a profound, positive effect on how medical decisions are made," Ruth Faden, director of the Berman Institute of Bioethics at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Jonathan Moreno, professor of ethics and medical ethics at the University of Pennsylvania and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, write in a Baltimore Sun opinion piece.
According to the authors, many physicians and patients do not have access to objective facts about which treatments or which diagnostic tests work best for which patients. Instead, their choices are influenced by advertising and promotions by drugmakers and medical device companies or by insurers' coverage decisions, Faden and Moreno write.
Faden and Moreno write that comparative effectiveness research "would allow patients and doctors to make decisions together based on the best possible scientific evidence." They add that comparative effectiveness research provides patients with "real choices based on solid information."
The authors write that opponents of the research could make comparative effectiveness research "the bogeyman that brings down health care reform" by saying it leads to "'one-size-fits-all' guidelines that cater to a non-existent average patient for the sake of making the system more efficient." Faden and Moreno write, "In fact, patients will be empowered by rigorous, evidence-based recommendations" directed at various types of patients.
Faden and Moreno conclude, "Patients want the right to make decisions with their doctors in order to pursue what is in their own best interests. Choosing blindly is an empty right; choosing with evidence respects patients' rights and enhances quality. This is a case in which good ethics demand good facts" (Faden/Moreno, Baltimore Sun, 5/1).