Health technology reassessment: the art of the possible

Int J Technol Assess Health Care. 2013 Oct;29(4):418-23. doi: 10.1017/S0266462313000494.


Background: Health technology reassessment (HTR) is "a structured, evidence-based assessment of the clinical, social, ethical, and economic effects of a technology currently used in the healthcare system, to inform optimal use of that technology in comparison to its alternatives." The purpose of this study is to describe the key themes in the context of current HTR activities and propose a way forward for this newly emerging field.

Methods: Data were gathered from a workshop held as part of the 2012 Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technology in Health (CADTH) symposium. The workshop consisted of two panel presentations followed by discussion; data gathered, including presentations and rich audience discussion transcripts, were analyzed for key themes emerging in the field of HTR using constant comparative analysis.

Results: The language chosen to describe HTR will set the tone for engagement. The identification of champions at multiple levels and political will are essential. Key lessons from international experience are: disinvestment is difficult, focus on clinical areas not specific technologies, identify clear goals of the HTR agenda. Six key themes were identified to move the HTR agenda forward: emphasize integration over segregation, focus on development of HTR methods and processes, processes are context-specific but lessons must be shared, build capacity in synergistic interdisciplinary fields, develop meaningful stakeholder engagement, strengthen postimplementation monitoring and evaluation.

Conclusions: To move this field forward, we must continue to build on international experiences with a focus on developing novel methodological approaches to generating, incorporating, and implementing evidence into policy and practice.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Decision Making, Organizational
  • Internationality
  • Technology Assessment, Biomedical* / methods