Study design for technology assessment: critical issues

Health Policy. 1988;9(3):285-96. doi: 10.1016/0168-8510(88)90016-4.


The epidemiological methods have become useful tools for the assessment of the effectiveness and safety of health care technologies. The experimental methods, namely the randomized controlled trials (RCT), give the best evidence of the effect of a technology. However, the ethical issues and the very nature of the intervention under study sometimes make it difficult to carry out an RCT. Therefore, quasi-experimental and non-experimental study designs are also applied. The critical issues concerning these designs are discussed. The results of evaluative studies are of importance for decision-makers in health policy. The measurements of the impact of a medical technology should go beyond a statement of its effectiveness, because the essential outcome of an intervention or programme is the health status and quality of life of the individuals and populations concerned.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Data Collection
  • Decision Making
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Ethics, Medical
  • Human Experimentation*
  • Research Design / standards
  • Technology Assessment, Biomedical / standards*