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Efficacy

  • In: Encyclopedia of Epidemiology
  • Edited by: Sarah Boslaugh
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Health Research Methods , Epidemiology & Biostatistics

Efficacy is the extent to which a particular health technology (medical device, drug, procedure, health program, or health service, including interventions) does what it is intended to do (i.e., a beneficial health outcome or result) under ideal conditions. For instance, clinical trials, which are conducted with a selected population and during which subjects may be monitored more closely than they would be in a clinical practice, can establish the efficacy of a health technology.

In fact, these ideal conditions are similar to those sought in conducting experimental research. Therefore, efficacy can be determined or estimated on the basis of the design, the analysis, the conduct, and the results of randomized controlled trials. The characteristics of properly designed and conducted randomized controlled trials make it possible to ...

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