Heterogeneity in Treatment Effect and Comparative Effectiveness Research

  • Zhehui Luo US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Keywords: Treatment effect, comparative effectiveness research, heterogeneity


The ultimate goal of comparative effectiveness research (CER) is to develop and disseminate evidence-based information about which interventions are most effective for which patients under what circumstances. To achieve this goal it is crucial that researchers in methodology development find appropriate methods for detecting the presence and sources of heterogeneity in treatment effect (HTE). Comparing with the typically reported average treatment effect (ATE) in randomized controlled trials and non-experimental (i.e., observational) studies, identifying and reporting HTE better reflect the nature and purposes of CER. Methodologies of CER include meta-analysis, systematic review, design of experiments that encompasses HTE, and statistical correction of various types of estimation bias, which is the focus of this review.


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