Priorities for Comparative Effectiveness + Senate and health reform

The Institute of Medicine, a Congressional research arm, released a list of  “100 health topics  (.pdf) that should get priority attention and funding from a new national research effort to identify which health care services work best.”

Among the high priority issues: atrial fibrillation, hearing loss, fall prevention for the elderly, MRSA prevention, localized prostate cancer,  lower back pain, Alzheimer’s disease, a form of breast cancer called Ductal Carcinoma In Situ, ADHD, unintended pregnancies and obesity.    

For more on effectiveness research and the conservative objections to it see my earlier post.

If you have a cold, what should you do? Take aspirin? Vitamin C? Flush your sinuses out with a little pot that looks like a lamp a kid would rub to release a genie? (I have one of those.) What about pain from gallstones? Should you let a doctor take out your gall bladder?  (I used to have one of those.)

Among those who sat on the panel: Brigham and Women’s Hospital president Dr. Gary L. Gottlieb, Dr. JoAnn E. Manson, also of the Brigham, and head of the Women’s Health Initiative and and Dr. James N. Weinstein of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, which has been leading research into the area for years.



Also, Sens. Kennedy and Dodd yesterday proposed a less expensive version of the health reform plan put forward by Senate Democrats. Kaiser Health News has a good round up of stories — including some that question the senators’ math. This from CQ Politics:

Democrats have struggled with CBO to get the agency’s cost estimates of their legislation down to a less staggering price tag. Dodd alluded to the behind-the-scenes negotiations during the Thursday conference call, at a point when he thought reporters were unable to hear him.”This is great news, staff really did a wonderful job,” he told other senators who had joined him on the call. “I talked to [CBO director] Doug Elmendorf more times over the weekend, trying to get these numbers. It got to be pretty frustrating. The results are great” 


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