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Best practice in undertaking and reporting HTA

Busse R, Orvain J, Velasco M, Perleth M, Drummond M, Gürtner F, Jørgensen T, Jovell A, Malone J, Rüther A, Wild C

Int J Technol Assess Health Care 18(2): 361-422





The aim of Working Group 4 has been to develop and disseminate best practice in undertaking and reporting assessments, and to identify needs for methodologic development. Health technology assessment (HTA) is a multidisciplinary activity that systematically examines the technical performance, safety, clinical efficacy, and effectiveness, cost, costeffectiveness, organizational implications, social consequences, legal, and ethical considerations of the application of a health technology (18). HTA activity has been continuously increasing over the last few years. Numerous HTA agencies and other institutions (termed in this report “HTA doers”) across Europe are producing an important and growing amount of HTA information. The objectives of HTA vary considerably between HTA agencies and other actors, from a strictly political decision making–oriented approach regarding advice on market licensure, coverage in benefits catalogue, or investment planning to information directed to providers or to the public. Although there seems to be broad agreement on the general elements that belong to the HTA process, and although HTA doers in Europe use similar principles (41), this is often difficult to see because of differences in language and terminology.

In addition, the reporting of the findings from the assessments differs considerably. This reduces comparability and makes it difficult for those undertaking HTA assessments to integrate previous findings from other HTA doers in a subsequent evaluation of the same technology. Transparent and clear reporting is an important step toward disseminating the findings of a HTA; thus, standards that ensure high quality reporting may contribute to a wider dissemination of results.

The EUR-ASSESS methodologic subgroup already proposed a framework for conducting and reporting HTA (18), which served as the basis for the current working group.

New developments in the last 5 years necessitate revisiting that framework and providing a solid structure for future updates. Giving due attention to these methodologic developments, this report describes the current “best practice” in both undertaking and reporting HTA and identifies the needs for methodologic development. It concludes with specific recommendations and tools for implementing them, e.g., by providing the structure for English-language scientific summary reports and a checklist to assess the methodologic and reporting quality of HTA reports.

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