Objectives: The regularly structured adaptation of health technology assessment (HTA) programs is of utmost importance to sustain the relevance of the products for stakeholders and to justify investment of scarce financial resources. This study describes internal adjustments and external measures taken to ensure the Horizon Scanning Programme in Oncology (HSO) is current.
Methods: Formal evaluation methods comprising a survey, a download, an environmental analysis, and a Web site questionnaire were used to evaluate user satisfaction.
Results: The evaluation showed that users were satisfied with HSO outputs in terms of timeliness, topics selected, and depth of information provided. Discussion of these findings with an expert panel led to changes such as an improved dissemination strategy and the introduction of an additional output, that is, the publication of a league table of emerging oncology drugs. The rather high level of international usage and the environmental analysis highlighted a considerable overlap in topics assessed and, thus, the potential for international collaboration. As a consequence, thirteen reports were jointly published based on eleven "calls for collaboration." To further facilitate collaboration and the usability of reports for other agencies, HSO reports will be adjusted according to tools developed at a European level.
Conclusions: Evaluation of the impact of HTA programs allows the tailoring of outputs to fit the needs of the target population. However, within a fast developing HTA community, estimates of impact will increasingly be determined by international collaborative efforts. Refined methods and a broader definition of impact are needed to ultimately capture the efficiency of national HTA programs.
Keywords: Awareness; Biomedical; Cooperative behavior; Health policy; Program evaluation; Technology assessment.