Friday, June 12, 2009

SMDM Weighs in on Comparative Effectiveness and Costs of Health Care

In a previous post I mentioned the Society for Medical Decision Making (SMDM). I need to declare a conflict of interest here. I am a member of SMDM and faithfully pay my dues every year.

SMDM is a scholarly society whose members mostly are university faculty members. It puts on a high quality scientific meeting every October and publishes a scientific journal (titled Medical Decision Making). SMDM serves as a network for scientists who are interested in how people make medical decisions. Thus, its journal and annual meeting have long been a source of information on cost effectiveness analyses. These studies use existing data to model the relationship between costs and the benefits attained from medical treatments. Cost effectiveness studies are relevant to comparative effectiveness, and cost effectiveness analyses usually compare two or more alternative treatments.

SMDM wants to influence decisions that the federal government makes about funding comparative effectiveness research, so today it put out a position paper that it is sending out to members of Congress. The position paper is available here:

SMDM calls it a Background Paper, but the paper serves to advocate for providing more federal funding for cost effectiveness analyses. The Background Paper is not too long, and it is a pretty good introductory review of comparative effectiveness and its relationship to cost analyses. When you read it, I think you'll also see that it does a pretty good job of tooting SMDM's horn.

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