Difference Between Efficacy and Effectiveness

While performing qualitative studies on a subject, such as conducting trials on a new drug, it is very important to consider all the conditions induced by the subject, as well as the factors that influence the subject. Both Efficacy and Effectiveness are some of the performance factors that are used as evaluation points during a qualitative test.

Efficacy vs Effectiveness

The main difference between Efficacy and Effectiveness is that Efficacy can be defined as the ability of a subject, such as a drug, to produce satisfactory results under the testing conditions. Effectiveness on the other hand can be defined as the capability of the subject to produce similar results under different conditions repeatedly on every trial.

Efficacy vs Effectiveness

Efficacy is one of the performance aspects that are used to evaluate the quality of drugs and medicines. It can be defined as the ability of the drug or the test subject to produce satisfactory and desirable results under the testing conditions. This assures that the test subject performs in an intended manner, under ideal conditions.

Effectiveness is another parameter that is used to test the performance of new drugs or new interrogation practices. It can be defined as the capability of the test subject to produce the anticipated results under “real-world” or practical conditions in all the tests that are conducted on the test subject.  

Comparison Table Between Efficacy and Effectiveness

Parameters of Comparison Efficacy Effectiveness
Definition Efficacy is defined as the ability of the test subject to produce desirable results under ideal conditions Effectiveness is defined as the capability of the test subject to produce anticipated results in practical conditions 
Purpose Used to establish the working properties of the test subject Used to evaluate the test subject under new sets of test parameters
Results Results obtained are not anticipated New results are cross-checked with the existing data
Test conditions Controlled lab conditions are maintained “real-life” conditions are maintained 
PriorityEfficacy tests are given higher priority Effectiveness tests are conducted after Efficacy tests

What is Efficacy?

Efficacy is one of the performance factors that are used to measure the quality of a test subject, such as a new drug, in a qualitative test. It measures how the test subject reacts and the data obtained from the results are used to further develop the test subject.

Efficacy can thus be defined as the ability of the test subject to produce desirable results under the ideal test conditions. The data obtained from the efficacy test are used as the parameters upon which the test subject is further developed.

If the results obtained are not desirable or satisfactory, the efficacy of the test subject is said to be very low. This suggests that further improvements on the test subject are crucial to produce any noticeable effects.

The conditions used for efficacy testing are controlled and highly maintained. Efficacy testing is only performed under lab conditions. As only theoretical data is available before efficacy testing the results of the test are also not anticipated.

Once the test subject passes the efficacy testing stage by producing satisfactory results, the subject is moved forwards to the effectiveness testing stage. Further improvements on the subject are made from the data obtained from the effectiveness stage of testing.

What is Effectiveness?

Effectiveness is a testing parameter which is used to test the performance of a test subject, like a new drug or a method of interrogation.

It is usually performed after the efficacy tests as the results obtained from the tests of effectiveness are compared from the existing data obtained from the efficacy tests.

Effectiveness can be defined as the capability of the test subject to produce satisfactory results under “real-life” or practical conditions.

The tests are also performed multiple times and the effectiveness of the subject is measured after comparing the results obtained from all the tests.

Thus the effectiveness of the test subject is said to be high if similar results are obtained in all the tests conducted on the subject. Thus effectiveness can be said as a measure of reproductivity of the test results.

The conditions for effectiveness testing are also different from efficacy testing. The conditions can also be changed during simultaneous tests, to check how the parameters of the test influence the test subject.

Multiple tests are performed on the test subject to further improve the test subject before it can be marketed or sold. Multiple tests are conducted to improve lower effectiveness levels into higher effectiveness levels, where the test subject can be assured to be capable of producing desired results under multiple sets of conditions.

Main Differences Between Efficacy and Effectiveness

  1. Efficacy is defined as the ability of the test subject to produce desirable results under ideal conditions. Effectiveness is defined as the capability of the test subject to produce anticipated results in practical conditions
  2. Efficacy is used to establish the working properties of the test subject. Effectiveness is used to evaluate the test subject under new sets of test parameters 
  3. In Efficacy tests, the results obtained are not anticipated. The results of Effectiveness are cross-checked with the existing data
  4.  Controlled lab conditions are maintained for the Efficacy test. In the Effectiveness test, “real-life” conditions are maintained 
  5. The Efficacy tests are conducted before the Effectiveness tests

Conclusion

During scientific testing of any subject, Efficacy and Effectiveness are two of the most important parameters that are considered to determine the performance of the test subject.

Both Efficacy and Effectiveness are performance parameters that are used for qualitative assessment of things like drugs and medications.

Efficacy can be defined as the ability of something to produce desired or satisfactory results under a controlled and ideal test environment. 

Effectiveness on the other hand is defined as the capability of the same test subject to produce similar results in a practical or “real-life” environment in all the tests conducted on the subject.

Both these tests measure how well a particular test subject performs, both when favorable conditions are maintained and when favorable conditions are not maintained.

References

  1. https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s11121-005-5553-y.pdf
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3912314/
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