Comparative effectiveness research conference details


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) are co-sponsoring a free conference on Methodological Challenges in Comparative Effectiveness Research.

“Comparative effectiveness research (CER) is increasingly important to the advancement of MR-guided focused ultrasound,” says Joy Polefrone, Ph.D., director of the Foundation’s FUS-Targeted Drug Delivery initiative. CER compares existing treatment options to determine which is most effective in different types of patients and circumstances. 

“Treatments for uterine fibroids – the first FDA-approved indication for MR-guided focused ultrasound – are already being addressed by an AHRQ stakeholder group. The group has developed protocol recommendations to address concerns about these treatments,” Polefrone notes. “Future applications of MR-guided focused ultrasound will undergo CER assessment in the U.S., making it important to understand this process and its impact on clinical use.”

Scheduled for December 2-3, the conference will be held at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.  It will address a variety of important questions about comparative effectiveness research that face U.S. researchers, care providers, health systems, and patients. In particular, the conference will explore a number of case studies challenging the kinds of research, methods and analyses that should be used to address limitations in current evidence for interventions and tests being examined by decision-making bodies


Topics include:

  • Comparative effectiveness of surgical and radiotherapy treatments for prostate cancer: Best methods for studying multilevel heterogeneous effects.
  • Comparative effectiveness of medical and surgical treatments for stable ischemic heart disease within subgroups of patients and in the face of rapidly evolving treatments.
  • Comparative effectiveness and costs of imaging strategies for diagnosing and monitoring patients with cancer.
  • Evaluation of two high-profile comparative drug safety cases: Aprotinin and Rosiglitazone.
  • Challenges of designing a “Learning Healthcare Systems” for Comparative Effectiveness Research. 


In addition to these case-based discussions, consumers, economists, methodologists, policymakers and statisticians will present two additional sessions:

  • Methods for Addressing Confounding in Observational Studies.
  • Value of Information Techniques for Setting Research Priorities.


The conference is free and requires advance registration. To register and for more information, visit:

Written by Ellen C., McKenna