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AHRQ--Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: Advancing Excellence in Health Care
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EHC Spotlight: The Diabetes Multi-Center Research Consortium

Comparative effectiveness and effectiveness research includes two equally important arms of the Effective Health Care (EHC) Program: systematic reviews of existing evidence and the generation of new scientific evidence. One of the sources for newly generated evidence within the EHC Program is the DEcIDE (Developing Evidence to Inform Decisions about Effectiveness) Network, a collection of research centers created in 2005.

The Network more recently has also created several consortia to meet the needs of significant priority conditions affecting large populations such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. One of these is the Diabetes Multi-Center Research Consortium (DMCRC), which was formed in 2008. The DMCRC supports innovative new research that is responsive to stakeholders, is protocol-driven, is based on established principles of good research practice, and includes analyses of both existing and newly collected data. The consortium also supports studies that address research gaps identified in systematic reviews, such as those produced by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Evidence-based Practice Centers (EPCs).

Currently, more than 23 million people in the United States have diabetes.

Currently, more than 23 million people in the United States have diabetes. According to the 2007 national diabetes statistics compiled by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, type 2 diabetes accounts for 90 to 95 percent of all cases in the United States. The estimated diabetes-related health-care cost in the country is $174 billion.

Four DEcIDE Network research centers make up the DMCRC: John Hopkins University, RTI International, Vanderbilt University, and the HMO Research Network (HMORN), a collection of 15 United States health plans. Kaiser Permanente of Northern California is the lead center for the DEcIDE DMCRC and is part of the HMORN.

Goals of the DMCRC include the harmonization of DEcIDE studies on diabetes, including the incorporation of recently funded diabetes research projects into the consortium. These projects include a comparative effectiveness review of the oral agents used to treat diabetes type 2 as well as a comparative effectiveness review of the effects of oral hypoglycemic drugs on chronic kidney disease. Other projects include a comparative effectiveness review on bariatric surgery versus usual care for obesity and a statistical brief that highlights the current and changing patterns of diabetes care.