Giving Consumers and Others Valid Information about the Clinical Effectiveness of Health Care Services

Compiling data to enable consumers, employers and public payers to make informed decisions about the purchase and management of health care benefits

During 2006 and 2007, the Institute of Medicine convened an interdisciplinary committee to recommend an organizational framework for assessing evidence on the clinical effectiveness of health care services available to consumers. The purpose was to give consumers, clinicians, professional societies, payers, purchasers and other health care decision-makers independent, valid information for making decisions.

Key Recommendations: The committee made the following recommendations:

  • Congress should direct the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to designate a single entity (the program) with authority, overarching responsibility, sustained resources and adequate capacity to ensure production of credible, unbiased information about what is known and not known about clinical effectiveness. The program should:
    • Set priorities for, fund and manage systematic reviews of clinical effectiveness and related topics
    • Develop a common language and standards for conducting systematic reviews of the evidence and for generating clinical guidelines and recommendations
    • Provide a forum for addressing conflicting guidelines and recommendations
    • Prepare an annual report to Congress
  • The Secretary of Health and Human Services should appoint a Clinical Effectiveness Advisory Board to oversee the program. Its membership should be constituted to minimize bias due to conflict of interest and should include representation of diverse public and private sector expertise and interests.
  • The Program should develop standards to minimize bias due to conflicts of interest for priority setting, evidence assessment, and recommendations development.