About Publications

Publications from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine provide objective and straightforward advice to decision makers and the public. This site includes Health and Medicine Division (HMD) publications released after 1998. A complete list of HMD’s publications from its establishment in 1970 to the present is available as a PDF.


  • Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality : Health ... Released: August 25, 2011
    Immunizations are a cornerstone of the nation’s efforts to protect people from a host of infectious diseases. Though generally very rare or very minor, there are side effects, or “adverse effects,” associated with some vaccines. The IOM reviewed a list of adverse events associated with eight vaccines to evaluate the scientific evidence about the event–vaccine relationship. Using epidemiologic and mechanistic evidence, the committee developed 158 causality conclusions, assigning each relationship between a vaccine and an adverse health problem to one of four causation categories. Overall, the IOM committee concludes that few health problems are caused by or clearly associated with vaccines.
  • Learning What Works: Infrastructure Required for Comparative ... Released: July 25, 2011
    It is essential for patients and clinicians to know which treatments work best for whom if they are to make informed, collaborative care decisions. Despite this need, only a small fraction of health-related expenditures in the U.S. have been devoted to comparative effectiveness research. As part of its Learning Health System series of workshops, the IOM’s Roundtable on Value & Science-Driven Health Care hosted a workshop to discuss capacity priorities to build the evidence base necessary for care that is more effective and delivers higher value for patients.
  • Implementing a National Cancer Clinical Trials System for the ... Released: July 22, 2011
    The National Cancer Institute’s Clinical Trials Cooperative Group Program works to advance patient care and research. Despite broad participation in the program, financial strain and procedural burdens limit the ability of the Cooperative Group Program to undertake medical practice-changing clinical research. The IOM’s National Cancer Policy Forum and the American Society of Clinical Oncology held a workshop on March 21, 2011 to follow up on the 2010 IOM report A National Clinical Trials System for the 21st Century: Reinvigorating the NCI Cooperative Group Program, which made recommendations to strengthen the NCI Cooperative Group Program.
  • Engineering a Learning Healthcare System: A Look at the ... Released: July 08, 2011
    Lessons from engineering have the potential to improve both the efficiency and quality of healthcare delivery. The fundamental notion of a high-performing healthcare system—one that increasingly is more effective, more efficient, safer, and higher quality—is rooted in continuous improvement principles that medicine shares with engineering. As part of its Learning Health System series of workshops, the IOM’s Roundtable on Value & Science-Driven Health Care hosted a workshop, jointly with the National Academy of Engineering, on lessons from systems and operations engineering that could be applied to health care.
  • Patient-Centered Cancer Treatment Planning: Improving the ... Released: June 13, 2011
    The life-threatening nature of cancer and the complexity of cancer treatment options, each with its own set of potential risks and benefits, make it difficult for people with cancer to make decisions about their care. A cancer treatment plan—a written document describing the path of care and who is responsible for each portion of that care—can provide patients with a roadmap to navigate the uncertain path they face. However, most providers lack the tools, time, and resources needed to efficiently and effectively prepare such plans with their patients. The IOM’s National Cancer Policy Forum held a workshop to discuss ways to create a more coordinated, patient-centered cancer treatment planning process.
  • Glutamate-Related Biomarkers in Drug Development for ... Released: June 08, 2011
    Problems with how the neurotransmitter glutamate functions in the brain have been linked to a wide variety of disorders, including schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, substance abuse, and traumatic brain injury. Efforts to understand, treat, and prevent glutamate-related disorders can be aided by the identification of valid biomarkers. The IOM’s Forum on Neuroscience and Nervous System Disorders held a workshop June 21-22, 2010, to explore ways to accelerate the development, validation, and implementation of such biomarkers.
  • Digital Infrastructure for the Learning Health System: The ... Released: May 23, 2011
    Like many other industries, health care is increasingly turning to digital information and the use of electronic resources. The IOM’s Roundtable on Value & Science-Driven Health Care hosted three workshops to explore current efforts and opportunities to accelerate progress in improving health and health care with information technology systems.
  • Finding What Works in Health Care: Standards for Systematic ... Released: March 23, 2011
    Healthcare decision makers—including clinicians and other healthcare providers—increasingly turn to systematic reviews for reliable, evidence-based comparisons of health interventions. Systematic reviews identify, select, assess, and synthesize the findings of similar but separate studies and can help clarify what is known and not known about the potential benefits and harms of drugs, devices, and other healthcare services. In this report, the IOM recommends standards for systematic reviews of the comparative effectiveness of medical or surgical interventions.
  • The National Cancer Policy Summit: Opportunities and ... Released: February 28, 2011
    Technological advances are altering the way cancer research is conducted and cancer care is delivered, and research increasingly is an international effort. At the same time, research budgets are shrinking and the cost of care is growing. The National Cancer Policy Summit brought together leaders in the cancer community to discuss these changes in research and care. Participants suggested many potential actions to provide more patient-centered cancer care, foster more collaboration, and achieve other goals to improve research and care.
  • Nanotechnology and Oncology – Workshop Summary : Health ... Released: February 25, 2011
    One way scientists are working to overcome challenges in cancer treatment and improve cancer care is through nanotechnology. The National Cancer Policy Forum held a workshop July 12-13, 2010, to explore challenges in the use of nanotechnology in oncology.