Purpose of review: There is very little high-quality evidence to guide clinical practice in hospice care. In the areas of medical therapy, patient-centered and family-centered outcomes, and patient safety, there are numerous high-impact questions for which answers are needed. Although randomized controlled trials are the gold standard for research, such trials are difficult, time consuming, and expensive to conduct in a hospice population. Moreover, they cannot examine the implementation of therapies in real-world settings. Therefore, there is a need for novel, complementary approaches to research in this unique population.
Recent findings: This article describes the initial experience of the Coalition of Hospices Organized to Investigate Comparative Effectiveness (CHOICE). CHOICE is a national network of hospices that use electronic health record-based data collection procedures to answer key questions relevant to clinical care and policy. By using a rich source of existing data to conduct observational studies, CHOICE is able to overcome many of the most significant challenges of randomized controlled trials in hospice. However, this approach also created unique challenges related to governance and privacy concerns.
Summary: CHOICE is a growing research network that has the potential to make a contribution to the science of palliative care in a hospice population.