Welcome to Effective Patient Care

The Campaign for Effective Patient Care advocates for policies to improve patient care by supporting doctors and patients in making smart use of trusted scientific evidence about what works best for which patients. The Campaign for Effective Patient Care is an education and advocacy organization working for improved patient care through better informed medical decisions.

Doctors and patients need to be able to base their treatment choices on the best available scientific evidence about what works, and for which patients. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. In some cases, definitive evidence is unavailable because the right kind of research simply has not been done. When credible, research-based evidence exists, it is not always readily available to doctors and patients, and even when available, it may not always be put to use.

The lack of evidence and failure to use it has real consequences for patients. Sometimes, patients don’t receive care they need — care that has been shown to be effective in preventing and diagnosing disease or treating symptoms. In a landmark study, RAND researchers found that, on average, just 55 percent of recommended care was delivered to U.S. adults suffering from 30 acute or chronic conditions.

At the other end of the spectrum, Americans are often provided unnecessary care that will not help them live better or longer, and can put them at risk of serious side effects, infections and medical errors. Without credible evidence to guide them, patients may be vulnerable to overly aggressive care.

Unfortunately, independent studies show that medical errors are not uncommon. The Institutes of Medicine points out that we already have the know-how to prevent many of these mistakes which are often linked to poorly informed medical choices and can result in serious harm to patients. The proliferation of medical errors is one factor that points to the need for readily available scientific evidence.

Across the country and across California, the underuseoveruseand misuse of medical services result in uneven quality of care and threats to patient safety as escalating health-care costs threaten families and businesses with bankruptcy.

More independent, well-designed medical research, and better dissemination of research findings, will result in better informed decisions and will improve the quality of care patients receive while helping reduce the amount of money wasted on ineffective, potentially harmful treatments.

Such research will help ensure that patients do receive treatment that works and is right for them. The federal government’s 2009 fiscal stimulus package, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, included $1.1 billion to compare the effectiveness of various health-care treatments.

The Campaign for Effective Patient Care advocates for policies that support the generation of independent research and provide doctors and patients the information and incentives needed to ensure unbiased research is well used as doctors and patients make health-care choices.