- Systematic reviewers disagree about the ability of observational studies to answer questions about the benefits or intended effects of pharmacotherapeutic, device, or procedural interventions. This study provides a framework for decision making on the inclusion of observational studies to assess benefits and intended effects in comparative effectiveness reviews (CERs).
- To describe a systematic approach for identifying, reporting, and synthesizing information to allow consistent and transparent consideration of the applicability of the evidence in a systematic review according to the Population, Intervention, Comparator, Outcome, Setting domains.
- To establish guidance on grading strength of evidence for the Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) program of the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
- In 2005, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality established the Effective Health Care (EHC) Program. The EHC Program aims to provide understandable and actionable information for patients, clinicians, and policy makers. The Evidence-based Practice Centers are one of the cornerstones of the EHC Program. Three key elements guide the EHC Program and thus, the conduct of Comparative Effectiveness Reviews by the EPC Program. Comparative Effectiveness Reviews introduce several specific challenges in addition to the familiar issues raised in a systematic review or meta-analysis of a single intervention.
- Comparative effectiveness reviews (CERs) are systematic reviews that evaluate evidence on alternative interventions to help clinicians, policy makers, and patients make informed treatment choices. Reviews should assess harms and benefits to provide balanced assessments of alternative interventions. Identifying important harms of treatment and quantifying the magnitude of any risks require CER authors to consider a broad range of data sources, including randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and observational studies.