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Research on the Comparative Management of Uterine Fibroid Disease (Text Version)

Slide presentation from the AHRQ 2011 conference.

On September 20, 2011, Michelle Bertagna Leavy made this presentation at the 2011 Annual Conference. Select to access the PowerPoint® presentation (135 KB). Plugin Software Help.

Slide 1

Research on the Comparative Management of Uterine Fibroid Disease

Michelle B. Leavy, MPH
Outcome Developing Evidence to Inform Decisions about Effectiveness (DEcIDE) Center
September 20, 2011

Slide 2

Project Overview

  • Funded by AHRQ through the DEcIDE program:
    • Task Order Officer: Shilpa Amin.
  • Completed by the Outcome DEcIDE Center, working collaboratively with the Center for Medical Technology Policy (CMTP).
  • Timeframe: Sept 2009—Nov 2010.

Slide 3

Uterine Fibroid Disease

  • Most common gynecological condition among women, occurring most frequently among women ages 30 to 40.
  • Cumulative incidence approaches 70 percent among white women by age 50 and is even higher among African-American women.
  • May cause pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, and anemia; also associated with adverse reproductive outcomes.

Slide 4

Uterine Fibroid Disease Treatments

  • Multiple treatment options exist, but evidence on the comparative long-term effectiveness of treatment options is of poor quality.
  • 2007 AHRQ technology assessment concluded: "The current state of the literature does not permit definitive conclusions about benefit, harm, or relative costs to help guide women's choices."

Slide 5

Lack of Evidence to Inform Decisions

  • Lack of evidence on the effectiveness of therapies for uterine fibroids to inform decisions.
  • This disconnect between the needs of decision-makers and the output of clinical research studies is not unique to uterine fibroids.
  • The disconnect has prompted interest in methods for determining the research priorities of decisionmakers.

Slide 6

Research Priority-Setting

  • Goals of research priority-setting:
    • To ensure that limited research funds are used efficiently.
    • To ensure that the end results of the research improve health care quality or shape clinical practice.
  • But, no clear best practice for priority-setting exists, and few models involving a wide range of stakeholders have been described.

Slide 7

Project Goals

  • To create a new model for stakeholder-driven priority-setting:
    • As recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee on Priority-Setting for Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER), "stakeholder" is defined broadly to include patient and consumer representatives, as well as payers, clinicians, and others.
  • To test that model by developing a prioritized research agenda for uterine fibroid disease.
  • To develop a research protocol with stakeholder input for the highest priority question.

Slide 8

Priority-Setting Process

  1. Project Team develops initial list of 64 questions.
  2. Technical Working Group refines and narrows list to 12 questions.
  3. Stakeholder Committee prioritizes questions.

Slide 9

Project Team

  • Outcome DEcIDE Center.
  • Center for Medical Technology Policy (CMTP).
  • AHRQ representatives.
  • Clinical experts:
    • Dr. Evan Myers, Duke.
    • Dr. Wanda Nicholson, UNC.

Slide 10

Technical Working Group (TWG)

  • Goals of TWG: to refine and prioritize the initial list of research questions, and to guide discussion at the Stakeholder Committee meeting.
  • TWG members included:
    • 7 clinicians with experience in uterine fibroid research.
    • 1 payer representative involved in a pilot study on the relative effectiveness of uterine artery embolization.
    • 2 patient/consumer reps with in-depth knowledge of the disease and available treatment options.

Slide 11

Stakeholder Committee

  • Goal of the Stakeholder Committee: prioritize the questions using a modified Delphi approach.
  • Stakeholder Committee members (37) included:
    • All members of the TWG.
    • 13 clinician researchers.
    • 5 public and private payers.
    • 7 patient/consumer group representatives.
    • 7 representatives of different federal agencies.
    • 5 industry representatives (pharma and device).

Slide 12

TWG Review & Prioritization

  • TWG prioritized questions using a modified Delphi approach:
    • Round 1: questions prioritized and results discussed during a conference call.
    • Round 2: questions re-prioritized and discussed at in-person meeting.
    • Round 3: questions re-prioritized following meeting.
  • Final list of top 12 questions developed for Stakeholder Committee review.

Slide 13

Stakeholder Committee Prioritization

  • Stakeholders attended an in-person meeting.
  • Questions were discussed and scored against priority-setting criteria to come to consensus on the final ranked list.
  • Research designs for the highest-ranked questions were discussed.

Slide 14

Prioritized List of Questions

RankQuestionWeighted Average
1Relative effectiveness of available interventional procedures9.0
2Relative effectiveness of interventional procedures versus non-interventional approaches8.6
3Classification systems of standard anatomic staging7.9
4Validated and reliable measures of patient reported outcomes7.6
5Natural history of uterine fibroids7.2
6Validated and reliable measures of responses to symptoms7.1
8Dissemination of results to patients and providers6.7
8Incidence, prevalence, and burden of disease6.7
9Patterns of use6.2
9Factors influencing treatment choices6.2
10Shared decision making5.8
11Care coordination4.6

Slide 15

Top Questions by Stakeholder Group

1.Relative effectiveness of procedural treatmentsRelative effectiveness of procedural versus non-procedural treatmentsRelative effectiveness of procedural versus non-procedural treatmentsRelative effectiveness of procedural treatmentsRelative effectiveness of procedural treatmentsRelative effectiveness of procedural treatments
2.Validated and reliable measures of patient-reported outcomesRelative effectiveness of procedural treatmentsRelative effectiveness of procedural treatmentsDissemination of results to patients and providersValidated and reliable measures of patient reported outcomesRelative effectiveness of procedural versus non-procedural treatments

Slide 16

Analysis of Prioritization Results

  • Some variation by stakeholder subtype:
    • Patient/consumer representatives prioritized the development of patient reported outcome measures, genetic studies, and natural history studies.
    • Payers prioritized dissemination, factors influencing treatment choice, and shared decisionmaking.
  • Largely similar results between TWG and Stakeholder Committee prioritizations.

Slide 17

Strengths of the Priority-Setting Model

  • Use of the TWG to narrow the initial list of questions.
  • Holding in-person meetings of both the TWG and Stakeholder Committee.
  • Inclusion of a wide and balanced array of perspectives in both the TWG and Stakeholder Committee.

Slide 18

Inclusion of Patients/Consumers

  • Patient/consumer representatives raised new, patient-focused questions that had not been identified in previous systematic reviews. The questions were added to the prioritized list.
  • Use of proactive approaches to engage patients and consumers resulted in active participation:
    • Inclusion of several representatives.
    • Pre-meeting conference calls, background materials.
    • Patient/consumer panel during Stakeholder meeting.

Slide 19

Areas for Improvement

  • Refine the initial list of research questions to limit redundancy.
  • Improve the clarity and context of the research questions (one issue per question).
  • Reduce the amount of background materials provided to the TWG and Stakeholder Committee and provide hard copies.

Slide 20

Challenges in Stakeholder Engagement

  • Providing sufficient context to engage participants with varying levels of expertise.
  • Managing conflicts of interest.
  • Moderating discussions where stakeholders hold strong opinions.
  • Ensuring that all voices, particularly patient / consumer voices, are heard.

Slide 21


  • We attempted to use a transparent, inclusive process to connect researchers with the practical needs of patients and clinicians to develop a stakeholder-driven research agenda for uterine fibroid disease.
  • The project demonstrated the importance and feasibility of including patients and consumers in priority-setting activities.
  • The process for developing the agenda is reproducible and could be adapted for use in other clinical area.

Slide 22

For More Information

Page last reviewed October 2014
Internet Citation: Research on the Comparative Management of Uterine Fibroid Disease (Text Version). October 2014. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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