The role of comparative effectiveness research in transfusion medicine clinical trials: proceedings of a National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute workshop
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Comparative effectiveness research (CER) is the study of existing treatments or ways to deliver health care to determine what intervention works best under specific circumstances. CER evaluates evidence from existing studies or generates new evidence, in different populations and under specific conditions in which the treatments are actually used. CER does not embrace one research design over another but compares treatments and variations in practice using methods that are most likely to yield widely generalizable results that are directly relevant to clinical practice. Treatments used in transfusion medicine (TM) are among the most widely used in clinical practice, but are among the least well studied. High-quality evidence is lacking for most transfusion practices, with research efforts hampered by regulatory restrictions and ethical barriers. To begin addressing these issues, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute convened a workshop in June 2011 to address the potential role of CER in the generation of high-quality evidence for TM decision making. Workshop goals were to: 1) evaluate the current landscape of clinical research, 2) review the potential application of CER methods to clinical research, 3) assess potential barriers to the use of CER methodology, 4) determine whether pilot or vanguard studies can be used to facilitate planning of future CER research, and 5) consider the need for and delivery of training in CER methods for researchers.
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