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New York Times Op-Ed on Effectiveness Research

An essay titled "Testing What We Think We Know" in the August 20th edition of the New York Times asserted, "Isn’t it time to learn which practices, in fact, improve our health, and which ones don’t? To find out, we need more medical research. But not just any kind of medical research. Medical research is dominated by research on the new: new tests, new treatments, new disorders and new fads. But above all, it’s about new markets. We don’t need to find more things to spend money on; we need to figure out what’s being done now that is not working. That’s why we have to start directing more money toward evaluating standard practices — all the tests and treatments that doctors are already providing. "

The essay by Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, a professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, concludes, "A call for more medical research might sound like pablum. Worse, coming from a medical researcher, it might sound like self-interest (cut me some slack, that’s another one of our standard practices). But I don’t need the money. The system does. Or if you prefer, we can continue to argue about who pays for what — without knowing what’s worth paying for."

Click on the essay's title to read the complete text.