ResearchResearch AreasComparative Effectiveness

Comparative Effectiveness Research

Patients today are faced with more choices—regarding procedures, tests, medications, and devices—than ever before.

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Not only do these numerous and complex choices come with increasingly high costs, but the potential benefits and harms of screening and treatment options are not always well understood. Through our program of comparative effectiveness research, we’re producing the evidence that patients, providers, and health systems need to make informed medical and policy decisions. Our pursuit of this evidence includes systematic reviews of previous trials as well as innovative new studies in a wide range of research areas, including:

  • Alcohol Use and Abuse
  • Asthma Epidemiology
  • Breast Cancer Treatment and Prevention
  • Cardiovascular Risk Factors
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Complementary and Alternative Treatments
  • Dental Care Delivery
  • Diabetes
  • Drug Safety and Effectiveness
  • Health Disparities
  • Hypertension
  • Kidney Disease
  • Obesity-related Diseases
  • Tobacco Control
  • Weight Loss
  • Youth Depression

Much of our comparative effectiveness research takes place under the umbrella of the Kaiser Permanente Center for Effectiveness and Safety Research (CESR). Launched in 2009, CESR consists of researchers, health-care providers, data managers, and analysts in all seven of Kaiser Permanente’s regional research centers. This large-scale network, made possible by our Virtual Data Warehouse, gives CHR investigators a platform for investigating both rare events and population-level health issues.

Featured Studies

Multi-Institutional Consortium for CER in Diabetes Treatment and Prevention

The HMO Research Network undertook this project to build a national data repository for conducting comparative effectiveness research on the treatment of and approaches to preventing diabetes mellitus. The result was a comprehensive, standardized diabetes registry—complete with longitudinal electronic health record data—of approximately 1.3 million adult members and a parallel registry of non-diabetic patients (approximately 2 million adult members). The registry also includes patients at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes in the membership of each of 11 participating health systems.


Gregory Nichols, PhD Principal Investigator
Funder: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Building Data Infrastructure in the Safety Net to Conduct Patient-Centered Outcomes Research

The Community Health Applied Research Network (CHARN) is building up its ability to conduct comparative effectiveness research in a network of community health centers and universities across the United States. This project is creating a central infrastructure that can pool the experiences of patients across these locations. The ultimate goal is improve patient care at federally supported community health clinics, which serve people who uninsured, poor, or members of racial and ethnic minority groups.


Mary Ann McBurnie, PhD
Principal Investigator
Funder: Health Resources and Services Administration

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