New England Healthcare Advisory Council Will Help Adapt Federal Comparative Effectiveness Reviews for Use by States and Regional Private Payers

– Council will guide Institute for Clinical and Economic Review’s federally funded RAPiD Initiative –

Boston, Mass., November 18, 2010 – With backing from a consortium of New England state health policy leaders, the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) will spearhead the formation of a New England Healthcare Advisory Council (the Council) to provide objective, independent guidance on the application of medical evidence to clinical practice and payer policy decisions across New England.  ICER, a leader in comparative effectiveness research based at the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Institute for Technology Assessment, will oversee the formation of the Council as a key element in its federally funded RAPiD (Regional Adaptation for Payer Policy Decisions) initiative, a three-year program funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“Making better use of medical evidence to help improve quality and control costs is a goal of all state health policy leaders, but too often even very good evidence reviews performed at the federal level fail to penetrate and gain traction at the state or regional level,” said JudyAnn Bigby, MD, Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  “Adapting federal evidence reviews so that an independent clinician Council can make judgments to help guide their application to coverage, payment, and other medical policies holds great potential to improve the value of healthcare patients receive across New England.”

Building on the momentum of an August 2009 meeting of officials from the New England states, 20 health policy leaders gathered Tuesday for an informational meeting in Boston to hear more about the overall goals of the RAPiD initiative and the formation of the Council.  At the meeting, representatives from the New England states, private payers, physicians and consumer representatives discussed how federal comparative effectiveness reviews could best be adapted for consideration by the Council, what the composition and function of the Council should be, and how the Council’s judgments on medical evidence could be framed to have the broadest positive impact on healthcare outcomes and value.

The policy goal of the RAPiD initiative is to develop and evaluate a transparent, independent, and rigorous process for translating federal evidence reviews into a format that will enhance their ability to inform coverage, reimbursement, and other medical policies at the regional level.  To that end, ICER will adapt a number of recently completed comparative effectiveness reviews from AHRQ.  The adaptation will include three components: 1) an analysis of how distinctive New England patient, provider, and health care system characteristics may influence consideration of federal review’s general findings regarding the risks and benefits of medical interventions; 2) an economic analysis of relative value and budget impact estimates related to alternative health care strategies; and 3) the assignment of formal ratings of comparative clinical effectiveness and comparative value.  ICER will present the adapted AHRQ evidence reviews to an independent Council that will be composed of clinicians, patient representatives, and research experts recruited from all six New England states.  The main function of the Council will be to review the adapted evidence reviews and make recommendations for policymakers and healthcare providers across New England.

“A core part of ICER’s mission has been the conduct and implementation of comparative effectiveness research in a transparent and actionable fashion, “said Steven Pearson, MD, President of ICER and the Principal Investigator of the RAPiD initiative.  “The RAPiD initiative builds on our previous work with diverse stakeholder groups and allows us to leverage that expertise in a way that could help improve the use of evidence in medical decision-making across New England.”

This initiative will also involve the active participation of a stakeholder Advisory Board consisting of state health policy leaders, private payers, consumer representatives and physician societies to help inform the topics selected, the format of reviews, and the dissemination of the final products.  The first meeting of the Council is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2011.

About ICER
The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), based at the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Institute for Technology Assessment (ITA) and an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, provides independent evaluation of the clinical effectiveness and comparative value of new and emerging technologies. Structured as a fully transparent organization, ICER seeks to achieve its ultimate mission of informing public policy and spurring innovation in the use of evidence to improve the value of health care for all.  For more information, please visit

For more information, contact:

Sarah Emond, 617-724-5497 or Aurelie Cordier, 617-643-4568