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Princeton, New Jersey– As consumers of health care, we want research that will provide us with real solutions to real health issues that concern real people talking to doctors in a real practice setting.   A new report on how to conduct observational “real world” studies has provided guidance to researchers to get us closer to that vision.

In 2009, the US Congress passed legislation which put an emphasis on health care research and what we can do as a nation to provide doctors and patients with health information that is relevant.  Using the guidance provided in this new report, researchers will be better equipped to give us information about real patients in real health care setting so that we can make better decisions about our health care.

The report, “Prospective Observational Studies to Assess Comparative Effectiveness: ISPOR Good Research Practices Task Force Report,” was published in Volume 15, Issue 2 (March/April 2012), of Value in Health, the official journal of the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR). The report was co-authored by Marc Berger, MD, Nancy Dreyer, PhD, MPH, Fred Anderson, PhD, Adrian Towse, MA, Art Sedrakayan, MD, PhD, and Sharon-Lise Normand, PhD.

Dr. Sharon-Lise Normand of Harvard University and a member of the PCORI Methodology Committee states that “One of the key messages of this report is to end the debate of ‘observational versus randomized studies’, and to focus on the design and analysis of good scientific studies – these could be observational or randomized in design – but, regardless, need to be thoughtful in design, mindful of threats to validity, and carefully and rigorously conducted.”

Value in Health (ISSN 1098-3015) publishes papers, concepts, and ideas that advance the field of pharmacoeconomics and outcomes research as well as policy papers to help health care leaders make evidence-based decisions. The journal is published bi-monthly and has over 8,000 subscribers (clinicians, decision-makers, and researchers worldwide).

International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) is a nonprofit, international, educational and scientific organization that strives to increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and fairness of health care resource use to improve health.

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