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Gender in Health Technology Assessment: Pilot study on agency approaches.

Panteli D, Zentner A, Storz P, Busse R
Int J Technol Assess Health Care 27(3): 224-229




Objectives: Gender as a social construct is a recognized health determinant. Since best practice in reporting Health Technology Assessment (HTA) clearly specifies the need to appraise a technology's social impact within the target population, the extent to which gender issues are taken into account in HTA production is of interest, not only in light of equitable practices but also for reasons of effectiveness. The aim of this paper is to provide a first assessment of the degree of gender sensitivity shown by HTA agencies around the world today.

Method: The websites of 60 HTA agencies were analyzed. The consideration of gender aspects was specifically looked for in each agency's general mission statement, its priority setting process, and its methodological approach. Additionally, specific gender-oriented initiatives not belonging to any of the aforementioned categories were identified.

Results: Of the 60 agencies, less than half mention a commitment to addressing the social implication of health technologies. Only 15 institutions make information on their priority setting principles available on their websites and gender was an issue in two of those cases. Data on methodology were obtainable online from 18 agencies, two of which mentioned gender issues explicitly. Finally, gender-oriented initiatives were identified by 13 agencies.

Conclusions: A gender-sensitive approach is apparently rarely adopted in current HTA production. Exceptional practices and relevant tools do exist and could serve as examples to be promoted by international collaborative networks.

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