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Introduction to Comparative Effectiveness and Outcomes Research

3rd Term
Health Policy and Management
Academic Year
2023 - 2024
Instruction Method
Asynchronous Online with Some Synchronous Online
Auditors Allowed
Yes, with instructor consent
Available to Undergraduate
Grading Restriction
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructor(s)
Contact Name
Frequency Schedule
Every Year
Next Offered
2024 - 2025
In the past decade, comparative effectiveness research (CER) and patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) have surged to the forefront of political and academic consciousness in the US. This course provides an introduction to the motivators of this rapidly evolving field, and the methods that can be applied to answer questions that are meaningful to the care of patients and populations of patients.
Reviews the problems faced by decision makers across the US health care system, and reviews priority topics for investigation. Explains the role of stakeholders, including payors, manufacturers, health care organizations, professional groups, providers and patients. Explains study designs and methods used in effectiveness research, focusing in particular on observational studies, but also on newer trial designs. Addresses the policy implications of this research.
Learning Objectives
Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe the role of comparative effectiveness research and patient-centered outcomes research in improving health, including their place in the U.S. health research portfolio
  2. Describe the role of stakeholders in comparative effectiveness research
  3. Illustrate the differences in the goals of efficacy and effectiveness research
  4. Describe key steps in the conduct of systematic reviews as appropriate for summarizing existing evidence about the comparative effectiveness of interventions
  5. Choose appropriate data for comparative effectiveness research
  6. Apply appropriate methods to the analysis of observational data
  7. Recognize differences between effectiveness trials and more traditional trial designs
  8. Communicate key steps in the dissemination and implementation of comparative effectiveness research results
Methods of Assessment
This course is evaluated as follows:
  • 16% Assignments
  • 14% Participation
  • 30% Midterm
  • 40% Final Exam
Enrollment Restriction
undergraduates not permitted in this course
Special Comments

CER is the generation and synthesis of evidence that compares the benefits and harms of alternative methods to prevent, diagnose, treat and monitor a clinical condition, or to improve the delivery of care. The purpose of CER is to assist consumers, clinicians, purchasers, and policy makers to make informed decisions that will improve health care at both the individual and population levels