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Health technology assessment in Germany: Status, challenges, and development

Perleth M, Busse R

Int J Technology Assessment Health Care 16(2): 412-428





The objectives of this paper are to describe the status and development of health technology regulation with regard to coverage decisions and utilization, and to analyze the current situation of health technology assessment (HTA) in Germany. The relevant literature for controlling health technologies was identified by searching the literature and databases and through personal contacts. The literature was analyzed with regard to the different sectors in the healthcare system. For the analysis of the current state of HTA in Germany, a national survey was carried out. In addition, the names of topics under assessment were collected. The results show that coverage decisions in the ambulatory sector appear to be much more regulated than those in the inpatient sector. The same is true for diffusion and usage of technologies. The strict separation of the hospital and the ambulatory care sector in Germany constitutes a barrier to regulation and to making HTA an effective instrument in Germany. Until recently, HTA in Germany focused on biotechnology, such as gene technology. Recently the German Scientific Working Group of Technology Assessment in Health Care has adopted a systematic methodology to undertake HTAs. It can be concluded that regulation of health technologies in Germany is characterized by inconsistencies ranging from strict regulation in the ambulatory sector to almost no regulation in the rehabilitation sector. Increasing interest in HTA, in conjunction with a high priority assigned to evaluation of health technologies by the newly elected government, is likely to improve this situation in the future.

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