Children Offer Special Challenges For Comparative Research

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

As the country embarks on a major expansion of comparative effectiveness research – with the potential to achieve major improvements in health care quality, outcomes and resource allocation – it’s important to make sure the special circumstances of children are taken into account.

That’s the message of an article in the October issue of Health Affairs, the leading journal of health policy thought and research, authored by researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Comparative effectiveness research is the process of comparing treatments and interventions to figure out which one is best for which patients. The federal government is offering significant funding to researchers to determine the best course of action.

In the Health Affairs paper, first author Lisa Simpson, MB, BCh, MPH, director of the Child Policy Research Center, makes the case that children are not just small adults and that to achieve improvements in child health, comparative effectiveness research “needs to be targeted, designed, conducted and reported in ways that are responsive to the unique circumstances of children and adolescents.”

Dr. Simpson and her colleagues, including Carole Lannon, MD, MPH, co-director of the Center for Health Care Quality at Cincinnati Children’s, give several specific steps to address the evidence gap in children’s health. “Overcoming the gaps in evidence in pediatric research will remain a significant challenge,” they write. “However, investing in determining what works in children’s health today and result in important health gains for all tomorrow.”

About Cincinnati Children’s

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is one of just eight children’s hospitals named to the Honor Roll in U.S. News and World Report’s 2010-11 Best Children’s Hospitals. It is ranked #1 for digestive disorders and highly ranked for its expertise in pulmonology, cancer, neonatology, heart and heart surgery, neurology and neurosurgery, diabetes and endocrinology, orthopedics, kidney disorders and urology. Cincinnati Children’s is one of the top two recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health. It is internationally recognized for quality and transformation work by Leapfrog, The Joint Commission, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and by hospitals and health organizations it works with globally. Additional information can be found at

Contact Information

Thomas McCormally, 513-636-9682