Medical and Pharmacy Coverage Decision Making at the Population Level

AUTHORS: Penny E. Mohr, Sean R. Tunis



Medicare is one of the largest health care payers in the United States. As a result, its decisions about coverage have profound implications for patient access to care. In this commentary, the authors describe how Medicare used evidence on heterogeneity of treatment effects to make population-based decisions on health care coverage for implantable cardiac defibrillators. This case is discussed in the context of the rapidly expanding availability of comparative effectiveness research. While there is a potential tension between population-based and patient-centered decision making, the expanded diversity of populations and settings included in comparative effectiveness research can provide useful information for making more discerning and informed policy and clinical decisions.

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