Last week, President Obama signed an economic stimulus bill that sets aside $1.1 billion for comparative effectiveness research. Critics warn that the studies supported by this provision will lead to a one-treatment-fits-all-individuals approach to health care. Moreover, they believe that the government will unnecessarily insert itself into the doctor-patient relationship, deciding what is or is not "appropriate" therapy.
In this week's "Doctor and Patient" column, I write about comparative effectiveness research, third party oversight and their effects on the interactions between doctors and patients. Are there only two individuals -- the doctor and the patient -- involved in every clinical relationship? And does third party oversight supported by evidence-based research necessarily weaken the doctor-patient relationship?
I always learn from reader comments, so I'd love to hear what you think. Please leave a comment below or on Tara Parker-Pope's "Well" blog.