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Considering Equity in Health Technology Assessment: An Exporatory Analysis of Agency Practices
Kreis J, Busse R
|Journal||International Journal of
Technology Assessment in Health
Equity is one of the founding principles in most healthcare systems. Financial constraints entail an increased risk of exacerbating inequities and a greater need for evidence-based decisions. It is, therefore, both important and timely to enquire how equity can be addressed in health technology assessment (HTA) practice. We aimed to explore related practices from a broad range of HTA agencies, identify exemplary approaches and common concerns, and offer insights for future considerations.
HTA agencies for which both methodological guides and HTA reports were publicly available were selected from an initial comprehensive pool. Information was extracted on issues ranging from a general commitment to fairness to specific measures targeting both methodological and process-related elements.
Methodological documents and ninety-eight reports from nineteen agencies were analyzed. Our findings indicate that equity was not a standard consideration in HTA report production. The nature of specific approaches and the amount of resources invested into including an equity perspective varied considerably. Specific measures (e.g., appropriate information sources, analytical tools, and schemes) were mentioned by almost half of the agencies analyzed. Albeit sporadic, both horizontal and vertical equity considerations were identified in included HTA reports.
While varying legal contexts and institutional principles can lead to different interpretations of equity at the decision point, a combination of methodological and process-related practices could contribute to more equity-sensitive evaluations, especially in conjunction with enhanced dissemination of existing methodological tools. Networking initiatives on behalf of existing collaborating platforms could play an important role in this direction.