HTA? Where do we go from here?

Health Technology Assessment….I guess you’ve heard of it? I assume that’s why you’re here. Either you’re involved in an HTA process already, or you’ve heard of HTA as a way to develop a health benefit package and you want to know more.

Let’s start with what HTA is NOT.

  • It’s NOT just a synonym for cost-effectiveness analysis
  • It does NOT make decisions for a country about what to fund
  • It is NOT only about medical devices – technology is defined using the same definition as WHO

So, then what is it?

HTA is a mechanism or process to support evidence informed decision making in the health system, in a consistent, fair and transparent process occurring within a well-defined legal framework that is free from conflict of interest….a bit of a mouthful!

Essentially HTA is a way of structuring a process to use data effectively. It’s about understanding that there is an opportunity cost to every decision that is made about where to spend money. It’s about ensuring that every possible health intervention gets a “fair go” – not just those with the loudest supporters, or biggest marketing department.

WHO is finalising a guide to countries who think that an HTA mechanism might be for them, to help them through the process. The guide will consider 5 major steps:

  1. What will be the mandate of your HTA mechanism?
  2. How does your legal framework need to be updated to ensure that the mechanism works?
  3. What are the different set ups I could have, what will they cost, and how many people will I need?
  4. How should I select interventions to review, and how should will I assess them for funding?
  5. What monitoring and evaluation system can I use to know that my HTA mechanism is working?

The guide is practical and actionable – each question will be answered in less than 12 pages, with a checklist to guide you through the steps involved.

If you’d be interested in reviewing the document, or think that any of these questions are relevant to you so pilot testing the guide in your country could be a good idea, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!


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