A Way to Find What Works in Health Care

When Congress, earlier this year, passed an economic stimulus bill that included $1.1 billion for comparative effectiveness studies, many were concerned that this money included no provisions to include the considerable expertise on tests, treatments and technologies that exists in the private sector.  We also wanted to make sure this work on comparative effectiveness is used to make American medicine better, not to simply cut costs at patients’ expense.

Bill Weldon, the chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson, if offering a valuable idea on how to put this $1.1 billion to best use.  In an op-ed Friday in the Washington Post, Mr. Weldon suggests the creation of public-private entity that would work on improving the evidence available to clinicians in determining how best to treat patients.  As he wrote, “The institute should have open, transparent processes and consider the input of patients, consumers, physicians and other providers.  It should focus on clinical effectiveness, not cost effectiveness.”