A measure similar to efficacy except that it refers to the effect of a particular medical technology or procedure on outcomes when used in 'actual' practice. It thus differs from efficacy in that efficacy concerns only the technical relationship between the procedure and its effects under 'ideal' conditions (in practice, typically the conditions that obtain in a research-oriented teaching hospital or primary care practice). 'Actual' practice is thus conceived to be practice as conducted by average professionals working with average resources. In economic jargon, the idea of effectiveness is encompassed within the notion of a production function.
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