Reference Work Entry

Comparative Effectiveness Research in Health Services

Part of the series Health Services Research pp 95-103


Comparative Effectiveness Research and Priority Setting

  • Craig MittonAffiliated withUBC School of Population & Public Health, Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Evaluation Email author 
  • , Stuart PeacockAffiliated withHealth Sciences and Canadian Centre for Applied Research in Cancer Control, Simon Fraser University and BC Cancer Research Centre


Health-care resources are limited and as such decisions must be made on what services to fund and what not to fund. Health-care priority setting processes can assist decision makers in making difficult choices. This chapter presents the application of a priority setting framework that has been used across countries across the full spectrum of health care and positions this framework as a vehicle for the application of comparative effectiveness research. Following presentation of a number of case studies, the chapter draws on our own experience as well as a well-developed literature to outline key lessons learned for successful implementation of priority setting in practice. These lessons include strong leadership and sound project management, an external support system, a fair and transparent process, use of valid and reliable benefit assessment tools, and careful consideration of the project scope. While success can never be guaranteed, these lessons should be useful to those charged with allocating available resources as well as those who may be called upon to support such activity. The chapter closes with discussion of future areas for development in this field along with a number of concluding remarks.