Healthcare Business News

IOM wants national clinical-effectiveness program

Posted: January 24, 2008 - 4:00 pm ET

The Institute of Medicine is recommending that Congress establish a new national program to evaluate the effectiveness of healthcare products and services and “end confusion” about what works best for patients.

A new report from the institute asserts that providers and payers are overwhelmed with information about clinical effectiveness and are struggling to sift through it all. Multiple organizations are offering sometimes duplicate or competing guidelines on myriad clinical conditions, while other conditions have no guidelines at all, according to the report. Regional disparities, lack of consensus about the most effective interventions, and waste are costing billions, the report said.

Establishing a national program to identify the most effective healthcare services would lead to better, more efficient and consistent care nationwide, the institute concludes. The institute's 16-member committee of providers, insurers and academics recommends that Congress direct HHS to establish a program with the authority, resources and expertise necessary to set priorities for evaluating clinical services and conduct systematic reviews of the evidence.

“A system coordinated by a single, national entity that can prioritize and coordinate these evaluations would enable us to sort the wheat from the chaff and make sense of it all,” Barbara McNeil, IOM committee chairwoman and head of the department of healthcare policy at Harvard Medical School, said in a written statement. -- by Rebecca Vesely

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