Objectives: Evidence-informed deliberative processes (EDPs) were introduced to guide health technology assessment (HTA) agencies to improve their processes toward more legitimate decision making. A survey among members of the International Network of Agencies for HTA (INAHTA) showed that EDPs can also be relevant for countries that have not (yet) established such an agency. Therefore, we explored to what extent low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) applied the steps and elements stipulated in the EDP framework and their need for guidance.
Methods: The survey among INAHTA members was slightly adapted to address LMIC context and sent to 416 experts identified through several HTA sources. The questions focused on contextual factors and the EDP steps (installation of an appraisal committee, selecting technologies and criteria, assessment, appraisal, communication and appeal). Data collection took place between 21 May and 1 September 2019. Descriptive statistics and qualitative analyses were used to summarize the findings.
Results: We received sixty-six meaningful responses from experts in thirty-two LMIC. We found that contextual factors to support HTA development are overall not present or only present to some extent. Respondents indicated that guidance was needed for specific elements related to selecting technologies and criteria, assessment, appraisal, as well as communication and appeal.
Conclusions: EDPs have the potential to provide steps for improving HTA processes. The results of this study can serve as a baseline measurement for future monitoring and evaluation of EDP application in the responding LMIC. This could support the countries in improving their processes and enhancing legitimate decision making when using HTA.
Keywords: Evidence-informed deliberative processes; Guidance; Health technology assessment; Low-income countries; Middle-income countries.