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Comparative Effectiveness and Safety of Radiotherapy Treatments for Head and Neck Cancer

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The Comparative Effectiveness Review Development Process

The topic of the comparative effectiveness review (CER) upon which this continuing medical education activity is based, Comparative Effectiveness and Safety of  Radiotherapy Treatments for Head and Neck Cancer, was nominated through a public process. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) commissioned the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association Technology Evaluation Center Evidence-based Practice Center to prepare the CER. The topic was refined with input from experts and stakeholders to develop the clinical questions that the CER would address. The clinical questions were posted for public comment on the Effective Health Care Program Web site and then finalized. The systematic literature review was conducted by using methods approved by AHRQ and with input from a technical expert panel. A comprehensive systematic review of the literature was conducted by using several well-known databases, including MEDLINE® (January 1, 1990 through September 28, 2009), EMBASE® (January 1, 1990 through September 28, 2009), and the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register (no date restriction). Based on the findings of the review, a draft CER was prepared and published on the Effective Health Care Program Web site for review by the public. Additionally, the draft underwent rigorous peer review to improve the final product. Revisions were made to the draft report based on the reviewers’ comments. After the CER was finalized, the complete report was published on the Effective Health Care Program Web site (available at: http://www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/index.cfm/search-for-guides-reviews-and-reports/?pageaction=displayproduct&productID=447).