Comparative Effectiveness Research for Atrial Fibrillation Treatment Is Listed as High Priority

July 1, 2009 6:21 AM CT

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 allocated $1.1 billion for research into the comparative effectiveness of different medical treatments and launched projects to identify and prioritize comparative effectiveness research (CER). Treatment of atrial fibrillation was just named as a high priority item on this agenda.

Comparative effectiveness research has the potential to provide patients and their doctors with the information to make informed decisions and to save on healthcare costs, which is particularly important for patients who continue to absorb higher and higher percentages of their healthcare costs. Ideally afib patients would be empowered to know the best strategies and practices for treating their afib, rather than feeling like they are in the dark as to the best approaches.

Groups that were tasked with input to the comparative effectiveness research prioritization process have just released their reports identifying the priorities:

  1. The Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research Report to the President and Congress identifies current Federal comparative effectiveness research activities and recommends priorities for Federal research.
    • The primary priority is building infrastructure, which includes building and expanding registries and databases
    • Three secondary priorities include:
      • Investment in dissemination and translation of information so that it benefits patients, which includes partnering with patient organizations
      • Research benefiting priority populations that are often underrepresented in research studies, including racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, elderly, children, and patients with multiple chronic conditions
      • Research into priority interventions – since past federal CER research has primarily focused on pharmacologic interventions, six areas were identified to receive CER priority, including procedures and surgery, medical and assistive devices, diagnostic testing, behavior change, prevention, and delivery strategies
  2. The Institute of Medicine’s Initial National Priorities for Comparative Effectiveness Research lists the top 100 CER priority areas. Atrial fibrillation falls in their top quartile, with a priority being placed on comparing the effectiveness of various treatment strategies for atrial fibrillation, including surgery, catheter ablation, and pharmacologic treatment.

Follow the links above to read the detailed reports and see the background behind them. Of particular interest may be the webcasts and summaries of the CER listening sessions where stakeholder organizations had input into these priorities.