Comparative effectiveness research (CER) has been designed to inform the health-care decision by giving evidence based on the effectiveness, benefits and harms of numerous treatment options. Most evidence is formulated from studies comparing drugs, medical devices, or ways that health care can be delivered. The main focus of CER is the improve the overall health outcomes by creating evidence-based information to give patients and clinicians as well as other health care decision makers; made based on their needs as well as what interventions can help patients depending their circumstances.

The evidence found with CER is either through:

  • Researchers reviewing all information about benefits/harm for each decision based on data collected from different groups of people from existing trials, studies, and other forms of research. These are also known as research review, because they are reviews of existing evidence.
  • Researchers making studies to create new evidence based on how effective a test, treatment, or certain procedure is in regards to their study.

CER has also is made to give the best possible information in regard to treatment choices, so that patients are able to make decision based on which choices are best for them. Also with the collection of information patient’s doctors are able to make the best choices by analyzing all of the possible results to help their patients.

According to AHRQ, CER requires the “development and use of a variety of data sources and methods to create timely/precise research and disperse the results in a way that patients, clinicians, health planners, and policymakers are able to use”(Effective Healthcare Program). Stated also by AHRQ there are seven steps that are need in conducting research and ensuring continuous development of the research infrastructure to promote these efforts (Effective Healthcare Program):

  1. Identifying clinical interventions that are new or emerging
  2. Synthesize/Review medical research that is current
  3. Make notes of gaps between current medical research and needs of clinical practice
  4. Promote new scientific evidence as well as analytic tools
  5. The training and developing of clinical researchers
  6. Disperse research findings to different stakeholders
  7. Reaching out to stakeholders

Applications in Health Informatics:
Comparative Effectiveness Research is associated with Health Informatics because it allows researchers to understand which procedure will produce the greatest benefit or harm to patient based on data collected from multiple results.
Also according to HSRIC, “the purpose of this research is to inform patients, providers, and decision-makers, responding to their expressed needs, about which interventions are most effective for which patients under specific circumstances (HSRIC).
Web resources:

Related Terminology:
Research Process
Comparative Effectiveness
  1. What Is Comparative Effectiveness Research? (n.d.). Effective Healthcare Program. Retrieved October 28, 2014, from
  2. HSRIC: Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER). (2010, July 28). Retrieved October 28, 2014, from
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