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Docs Impact Comparative Effectiveness Research Opinion

Docs Impact Comparative Effectiveness Research Opinion

Public perception of comparative effectiveness research more influenced by docs than politicians

TUESDAY, July 2 (HealthDay News) -- Doctors' support of comparative effectiveness research (CER) influences public opinion and has a greater impact on public opinion than cues from political players, according to research to be published this fall in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law.

Noting that CER has the potential to decrease wasteful spending and improve patient outcomes, Alan S. Gerber, Ph.D., from Yale University in New Haven, Conn., and colleagues examined whether public confidence could be boosted in CER as a cost control strategy. They conducted two national surveys to investigate the public's confidence in doctors compared with other groups (lawyers, grade school teacher, or Members of Congress).

The researchers found that, compared with other professions, doctors were perceived as harder workers, more trustworthy, and more caring. The public also expressed confidence in the professional competence of doctors, including their ability to tailor care to the needs of individual patients. Public support for the CER health care cost control proposal was increased with the support of doctors. Public opinion was influenced by doctors and doctors' groups, more than by political players, including Congressional members and a bipartisan commission.

"Our survey results suggest that the medical profession's stance will be an important factor in shaping the political viability of efforts to use CER as a tool for health care cost control," the authors write.

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