Background: Technology assessment has become a rapidly growing component of the healthcare system. It has assumed a functional role in operational settings and is rapidly impacting decisions involving purchasing, coverage, and reimbursement. This review is intended to assist the healthcare decision maker in considering the application of technology assessment in healthcare, so as to maximize the efficiency of future purchasing decisions.
Methods: This "best practice" was synthesized after identifying key institutions performing technology assessment in healthcare and analyzing their working processes, including literature review, consensus panel discussions, and expert opinion.
Results: We describe this best practice on a reiterative loop that consists of five processes: awareness, strategic appropriateness, analysis versus need, acquisition and implementation, and reassessment. Typical barriers to adoption of technology assessment are also identified and discussed.
Conclusions: This review suggests a common terminology for the core processes involved in technology assessment, thereby facilitating a more uniform understanding among the different components of the healthcare system (i.e., payer, provider, and society) while recognizing their different perspectives.