Assumption of leadership of the California Technology Assessment Forum provides unique infrastructure for moving comparative effectiveness research into practice and policy

Boston, Mass., January 15, 2014 – The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) announced today that it has assumed the leadership of the California Technology Assessment Forum (CTAF), thereby adding a critical element to the unique infrastructure of ICER programs that are aligned to support regional efforts to interpret, disseminate, and implement the results of comparative effectiveness research in order to improve the quality and value of health care.

Since its establishment in 2003, CTAF has earned a reputation for rigor and transparency under the leadership of Blue Shield of California Foundation. As it moves under ICER’s direction it will be linked with existing ICER programs, including the New England Comparative Effectiveness Public Advisory Council (CEPAC), and evidence reviews supporting the state of Washington’s Health Care Authority.

The shared goal of these efforts is to improve the quality and value of health care services by: 1) producing rigorous, independent reviews of the comparative clinical effectiveness and value of medical tests, treatments, and delivery system innovations; 2) organizing trustworthy state and regional public processes through which evidence reviews can be debated and voted upon; and 3) catalyzing and supporting collaborative efforts among all stakeholders to disseminate and implement evidence-based best practices – through patient and provider tools, payer policies, and policy maker initiatives.

“The integration of the scientific and policy activities of CTAF and CEPAC gives us a unique platform from which to help move evidence into action in the health care system,” said ICER President Steven Pearson, MD, MSc. “Leveraging our anchors on both coasts, we envision creating a robust national infrastructure of like-minded organizations who recognize that we should be able to collaborate more effectively on disseminating and implementing the results of medical research. The key will be to have rigorous, trustworthy evidence reviews representing “generalized” findings linked to regional approaches for interpreting and applying the results in ways that fit the needs of local health care patients and systems. The best way to achieve that goal is to bring local or regional patients and other stakeholders together, to have them discuss the evidence in light of the perspectives of local clinical and system leaders, and then to support all these stakeholders in efforts to use the evidence to create new approaches to practice and medical policy that will achieve the common goal: improved health at lower costs.”

To support the evolution of CTAF under ICER governance, Blue Shield of California Foundation provided a $2.6 million core operating support grant to support many CTAF functions for four years.

“There is wide recognition that the cost of our health care system is unsustainable, so understanding the relative value of services will be essential,” said Blue Shield of California Foundation President and CEO Peter Long, PhD. “With ICER’s leadership, CTAF with broaden its scope to include economic impact of services and technologies, which is important for payers, patients and providers.”

About ICER
The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) is an independent non-profit health care research organization dedicated to improving the interpretation and application of evidence in the health care system.

About CTAF
The California Technology Assessment Forum (CTAF), a flagship initiative of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, is dedicated to providing credible, evidence-based information about new and emerging medical technologies and delivery system interventions. Lead funding is provided by Blue Shield of California Foundation. For more information about CTAF, please visit

CEPAC, an independent, regional body of practicing physicians, methodological experts, as well as patient/public members, provides objective, independent guidance on the application of medical evidence to clinical practice and payer policy decisions across New England. Led by the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, CEPAC was originally funded by a federal grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), but is now supported by a broad coalition of state Medicaid leaders, integrated provider groups, public and private payers and patient representatives. For more information on CEPAC, please visit