With rapid changes and new challenges in global health care, there is increasing awareness of the limits with current measures of effectiveness. Promoting the use and reimbursement of a certain health technology requires evidence of its value for patients by means of improved quality or extended quantity of life. The term outcomes research has been introduced as a catch-all phrase for scientific approaches of determining the impact of health care interventions on the population level. However, because there is still debate as to the definition of outcome, the goals of outcomes research remain to be defined. We herein propose concepts and criteria that may suit the principle of outcomes research, and we sketch the major differences to clinical research.
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