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Clinical and Comparative Effectiveness Research Methods II

Invitation to an AHRQ Symposium
June 1 and 2, 2009

John M. Eisenberg Building — Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Conference Center — Rockville, Maryland

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, through its Effective Health Care program, is sponsoring a second invitational symposium on clinical and comparative effectiveness research methods. This 2-day symposium will be held in the first week of June 2009 (dates to be confirmed) at the AHRQ Conference Center. The symposium is a direct followup to the 2006 AHRQ conference on Emerging Methods in Comparative Effectiveness and Safety; papers presented at that conference appeared in a 2007 Medical Care supplement (available at

The 2009 conference will also focus on empirical studies and methodological advances appropriate for publication as a supplement in a peer-reviewed journal. Thus, preference will be given to research that can be presented as a prelude to publication in the journal supplement and that will be complete or nearly so by early summer 2009.

This announcement is an invitation for your participation in this second symposium, specifically through submission of a brief abstract on relevant research by Friday, February 13, 2009, to the RTI DEcIDE Center ( More detailed information about the conference sessions and the abstract form are available in the next section.

The 2009 symposium will examine new and emerging methods for comparative and clinical effectiveness research. The two main emphases include examination of ways to enhance the inclusion of clinically heterogeneous populations in comparative and clinical effectiveness studies and ways to implement longitudinal investigations that capture longer term health outcomes, including patient-reported outcomes. Cutting across these are four thematic areas:

  1. study design,
  2. data collection,
  3. statistics and analytic methods, and
  4. policy issues and applications.

AHRQ will publish a second supplement (journal TBD) of symposium papers; commentaries, editorials, or purely theoretical papers will not be considered.

The listing below illustrates the range of topics AHRQ aims to cover, although it is not necessarily comprehensive or final. We are soliciting abstracts for approximately 20 plenary presentations; sessions will feature considerable time for discussion. Papers will be selected via a blinded, independent peer review process by program committee members: Wade Aubry, MD; Jean-Paul Gagnon, PhD; Eric Johnson, PhD; Malcolm Maclure, ScD; Sharon-Lise T. Normand, PhD; Jean Slutsky, MSPH, Mitchell Sugarman, MBA; Scott R. Smith, PhD, and Thomas A. Trikalinos, MD, PhD.

Contact Dr. Kathleen Lohr (,
Dr. Mark Patterson (, and/or
Dr. Scott R. Smith (


Topics to be Considered for Five Symposium Sessions of Empirical Papers

  1. Optimizing Clinical Heterogeneity and Collection of Longitudinal Outcomes: The Role of Study Designs
    This session will focus on studies using either observational or trial designs, including adaptive, clustered randomized, and pragmatic trials, appropriate for comparative effectiveness studies. In particular, study designs discussed in this session will maximize the opportunity of collecting health and patient-reported outcomes (PRO) data on clinically heterogeneous populations, taking tradeoffs between internal validity (risk of bias) and external validity (applicability).
  2. Optimizing Clinical Heterogeneity and Collection of Longitudinal Outcomes: The Role of Data Collection Methods
    This session will include studies that describe innovative methods for obtaining data directly from patients, especially for treatments requiring PROs. This session will include research using unique data resources and novel data collection modes (e.g., internet and handheld devices) for ascertaining longitudinal data, especially focused on priority populations. It can also examine validation of intermediate or surrogate measures from electronic data sources against PROs.
  3. Study Design and Data Collection: Cross-Cutting Issues
    This session will showcase optimal methods to identify for, recruit into, and retain priority populations in comparative effectiveness studies; of interest also are the estimated costs of innovative designs to meet this objective. It will include studies of efficient and economical methods for building health care research databases from numerous data sources that allow multiple uses for studying longer term health outcomes.
  4. Optimizing Clinical Heterogeneity and Collection of Longitudinal Outcomes: The Role of Statistical Techniques and Analytic Models
    This session will feature studies using both traditional analytic strategies and innovative statistical methods, specifically focused on clinically heterogeneous populations. Of particular interest are studies that address the methods and issues related to combining multiple data sources, especially with regard to measurement error and missing data. Also included will be design and analytic methods, e.g., simulation modeling, to evaluate longer term outcomes for comparative effectiveness studies.
  5. Methods and Policy: Applications and Implications of Effectiveness Research
    This session will highlight work that has direct policy applications or implications. For instance, new methods to accelerate decision making, e.g., rapid learning techniques using electronic data bases and coverage with evidence development (CED), a novel way of testing technologies that appear effective but have not been rigorously tested, and other specialized designs pose both methodological and practical challenges for researchers and policymakers. This session can include lessons learned from ongoing CED studies and research using electronic data bases to examine decision making structures for rapidly linking health care decision making to evidence development. Other possible topics may include ensuring privacy and confidentiality with new designs or data collection techniques or using comparative effectiveness research for health care reform.


Instructions for Submission of Papers/Presentations for the Symposium

Please use the form below to:

  1. Indicate your research topic(s) or area(s) of interest;
  2. Identify the speaker(s) or author(s) for the presentation and paper (these will be removed for blinded review of abstracts);
  3. Describe your proposed paper (2-3 paragraph/250 words); and
  4. Indicate the stage of your research (e.g., already completed; will be completed by June 2009; can be completed by July 2009.

If you propose more than one paper, please send a separate form for each paper.

Please send the completed form to the
Comparative Effectiveness Symposium email at RTI International:

on or before Friday, February 13, 2009.

Please contact Dr. Kathleen Lohr (,
Dr. Mark Patterson (, and/or
Dr. Scott R. Smith (

On behalf of AHRQ's Effective Health Care program, we welcome your participation and thank you for your interest.

Download this document, including the submission form, in PDF (50kb) or MS Word (78 kb) format


Submission Form

Clinical and Comparative Effectiveness Research Methods: II

Title: Research Topic or Area of Interest (Session 1 - 5):

Proposed Speaker(s)/Presenter(s) (name; e-mail addresses):

Description of Paper/Presentation (2-3 paragraphs/250 words):

Stage of Research:
__ completed
__ will be completed by June 2009
__ will be completed by July 2009

Please return the completed form to Ms. Jackie Amoozegar at RTI International at by 2/13/09.