The IOM appointed two independent committees to undertake the projects. The 16-member3 Committee on Standards for Systematic Reviews of Comparative Effectiveness Research included experts in biostatistics and epidemiology, CER, CPG development, clinical trials, conflict of interest, clinical care and delivery of healthcare services, consumer perspectives, health insurance, implementation science, racial and ethnic disparities, SR methods, and standards of evidence. Brief biographies of the SR committee members are presented in Appendix I. This report presents the findings and recommendations of the SR committee. A companion report, Clinical Practice Guidelines We Can Trust, presents the findings and recommendations of the Committee on Standards for Developing Trustworthy Clinical Practice Guidelines.


The charge to the SR committee was two-fold: first, to assess potential methodological standards that would assure objective, transparent, and scientifically valid SRs of CER, and second, to recommend a set of methodological standards for developing and reporting such SRs (Box 1-1).


In recent years, various terms such as evidence-based medicine, health technology assessment, clinical effectiveness research, and comparative effectiveness research have been used to describe healthcare research that focuses on generating or synthesizing evidence to inform real-world clinical decisions (Luce et al., 2010). While the legislation that mandated this study used the term clinical effectiveness research, the committee could not trace the ancestry of the phrase and was uncertain about its meaning separate from the phrase comparative effectiveness research in general use by clinicians, researchers, and policy makers. Thus, this report adopts the more commonly used terminology—comparative effectiveness research and defines CER as proposed in the IOM report, Initial National Priorities for Comparative Effectiveness Research (IOM, 2009, p. 42):

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


One member stepped down from the committee in July 2010.

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