Health technology assessment in Denmark

Int J Technol Assess Health Care. Spring 2000;16(2):347-81. doi: 10.1017/s0266462300101047.

Abstract

The Danish healthcare services are mainly provided by public sector institutions. The system is highly decentralized. The state has little direct influence on the provision of healthcare services. State influence is exercised through legislation and budget allocations. The main task of the state is to initiate, coordinate, and advise. Counties, which run the hospitals, also decide on the placement of services. The hospital sector is controlled within the framework of legislation and global budgets. General practitioners occupy a central position in the Danish healthcare sector, acting as gatekeepers to the rest of the system. The system works well, and its structure has resulted in steady costs of health care for a long period. There is no regulatory mechanism in the Danish health services requiring use of health technology assessment (HTA) as a basis for policy decisions, planning, or administrative procedures. However, since the late 1970s a number of comprehensive assessments of health technology have formed the basis for national health policy decisions. In 1997, after years of public criticism of the quality of hospital care and health technologies, and on the basis of a previously developed national HTA strategy, a national institute for HTA (DIHTA) was established. There seems to be a growing awareness of evidence-based healthcare among health professionals and a general acceptance of health economic analyses as a basis for health policy decision making. This progress is coupled with growing regional HTA activity in the health services. HTA seems to have a bright future in Denmark.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Delivery of Health Care / economics
  • Delivery of Health Care / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Denmark
  • Female
  • Health Personnel
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Middle Aged
  • National Health Programs / organization & administration
  • Pregnancy
  • Technology Assessment, Biomedical / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Technology Assessment, Biomedical / organization & administration*