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Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis


Labelle lecture to focus on comparative effectiveness research in U.S. health reform

25 Sep 2009

As the debate over health care reform in the United States rages on, comparative effectiveness research (CER) is emerging as a key method to inform discussions.

A renewed interest in CER methods and applications to determine which drugs, devices and procedures are most effective while carrying the lowest risk for adverse side effects, has the potential to deliver timely and crucial information to physicians and improve efficiency and quality of care.

However, controversies remain regarding the inclusion of costs in such research, and while many countries rely on CER for policymaking, the American health care system seeks to avoid any formal rationing mechanism, and wants to promote physician and patient autonomy in treatment choices, while containing costs.

This year’s Labelle Lecture on Oct. 7 will focus on how traditional CER would need to be modified in order to deliver the information required for the U.S. system to achieve its goals.

Anirban Basu, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, will deliver this year’s lecture entitled Comparative Effectiveness Research: Another Emperor With No Clothes? He will discuss how novel designs and methods of CER will be required to reveal heterogeneity and comparative effectiveness at the smallest sub-group, or even at the individual level.

Using a case study on the use of antipsychotic drugs and diabetes in patients with schizophrenia, Basu will highlight the translation of traditional CER results to behaviour, and its implications for patient welfare. He will discuss the importance of individualized CER and methods to achieve necessary results.

The lecture will be held in HSC-1A1 from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. All are welcome.

Baus has a master’s degree in biostatistics and a PhD in public policy. He is a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and received the 2009 Bernie O’Brien New Investigator Award from the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research. O’Brien, who died in 2004, was a professor in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McMaster University.

Basu’s research interests lie in revealing heterogeneity in clinical and economic outcomes in order to establish the value of individualized care, and translating such information for public policy using innovative methods in comparative effectiveness and cost-effectiveness research.

Discussant for the lecture is Stirling Bryan, director of the Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Evaluation, at the University of British Columbia.

The Labelle Lectureship is an annual event organized by CHEPA, the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatics and the Programs for Assessment of Technology in Health Research Institute. It was established in 1992 in memory of Roberta Labelle, a founding member of CHEPA who died in 1991. The annual lectureship features a health services researcher with emerging recognition and an interdisciplinary approach to research.

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