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Health Aff (Millwood). 2012 Oct;31(10):2206-12. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2012.0817.

Academic detailing can play a key role in assessing and implementing comparative effectiveness research findings.

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Harvard Medical School, Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Comparative effectiveness research evaluates the relative effectiveness, safety, and value of competing treatment options in clinically realistic settings. Such evaluations can be methodologically complex and difficult to interpret. There will be a growing need for critical evaluation of comparative effectiveness studies to assess the adequacy of their design and to put new information into a broader context. Equally important, this knowledge will have to be communicated to clinicians in a way that will actually change practice. We identify three challenges to effective dissemination of comparative effectiveness research findings: the difficulty of interpreting comparative effectiveness research data, the need for trusted sources of information, and the challenge of turning research results into clinical action. We suggest that academic detailing-direct outreach education that gives clinicians an accurate and unbiased synthesis of the best evidence for practice in a given clinical area-can translate comparative effectiveness research findings into actions that improve health care decision making and patient outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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