Health technology assessment and evidence informed decision making
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Health Technology Assessment and evidence-informed decision making. Derek Cutler, MSc NICE International. Health systems everywhere are under pressure…. Burden of chronic disease and ageing populations. Users’ e xpectations and the promise of universal coverage.

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Health Technology Assessment and evidence-informed decision making

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Health technology assessment and evidence informed decision making

Health Technology Assessment and evidence-informed decision making

Derek Cutler, MSc

NICE International

Health technology assessment and evidence informed decision making

Health systems everywhere are under pressure…

Burden of chronic disease and ageing populations


expectations and the promise of universal coverage

Finite budgets and financial pressures

Policy and practice

Growth in technologies – expanding marketplace

We cannot afford everything that is clinically effective

We cannot afford everything that is clinically effective

“The NHS, just like every other healthcare system in the world—public or private—has to set priorities and make choices. The issue is not whether there are choices to be made, but how those choices are made. There is not a service in the world, defence, education or health, where this is not the case.”

UK Parliamentary Health Committee

Payers responses

Payers’ responses

  • Accumulating debt

  • (Arbitrary) price cuts

  • Divergence between coverage (in principle) and access

  • Cost-shifting to service users and their families

  • Price negotiations

  • Risk sharing and Value-Based Pricing

  • ‘Institutionalising’ technology adoption decisions: Health Technology Assessment agencies

  • A combination of the above…

What is health technology assessment

What is Health Technology Assessment?

“A multi-disciplinary field of policy analysis that examines the medical, economic, social and ethical implications of the incremental value, diffusion and use of a medical technology in health care.”

Medical technology: “Any intervention that may be used to promote health, to prevent, diagnose or treat disease or for rehabilitation or long-term care. This includes pharmaceuticals, devices, procedures and organizational systems used in health care.”

INAHTA (International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessment)

Hta as a tool

HTA as a tool

  • HTA can help policy makers to:

    • effectively prioritise health interventions and services

    • improve their quality

    • make consistent decisions

    • reduce inappropriate variation

    • signal ‘value’ to industry

    • inform the selection of indicators to assess performance and incentivise providers, especially in the context of capitation

Hta as a tool1

HTA as a tool

  • Not a ‘cure all’ for all system inefficiencies and problems

  • But, combined with inclusive, transparent processes can confer legitimacy on decisions

  • Particularly important in the case of ‘no’ decisions and saving money to reinvest and to expand coverage

Hta audiences

HTA audiences

  • Policy-makers - payers

  • Medical products developers – industry

  • Healthcare professionals

  • Academic community - researchers

  • General public: taxpayers; insured population; informal sector

  • Patients and their families

  • NGOs / third sector

  • Donors

Dimensions of hta

Dimensions of HTA

  • Comparative clinical effectiveness

  • Comparative cost-effectiveness

  • Service delivery organisation aspects

  • Legal framework

  • Ethical, social implications – equity, fairness and other societal norms

Comparative clinical and cost effectiveness

Comparative clinical and cost-effectiveness

1. How well does the technology/intervention work compared to standard practice in OUR healthcare system? Health gain can be estimated using quality adjusted life years (QALYs)

2. How much does the technology/intervention cost compared to

standard practice in OUR healthcare system?

  • cost of technology, monitoring, length of inpatient or outpatient stay, costs of treating adverse events

    3. Incremental cost effectiveness can be calculated by comparing (1) and (2)

    Difference in costs

    Difference in effect

Role of cost effectiveness in nice guidance

Role of cost effectiveness in NICE guidance

  • “Those developing clinical guidelines, technology appraisals or public health guidancemust take into account the relative costs and benefits of interventions (their ‘cost effectiveness’) when deciding whether or not to recommend them.” (Principle 2, Social Value Judgements, NICE 2008)


  • “Decisions about whether to recommend interventions should not be based on evidence of their relative costs and benefits alone. NICE must consider other factors when developing its guidance, including the need to distribute health resources in the fairest way within society as a whole.” (Principle 3)

Cost effectiveness and


Extent of uncertainty

Legal and policy constraints

Non-utilitarian criteria: ethics, equity, rights

Practicalities of implementation

Cost-effectiveness and…


Nice principles

NICE Principles



Process matters

Process matters

Open, consultative decision-making processes:

  • Confer legitimacy

  • Improve the quality and relevance of decisions

  • Protect against vested interests and bias

Local institutions matter

Local institutions matter

“Successful development depends to a large extent on a government‘s capacity to implement its policies and manage public resources through its own institutions and systems”

The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (2005) and the Accra Agenda for Action (2008)

Institutions international examples

Institutions: International Examples

  • PHARMAC, New Zealand

  • IQWiG / GBS, Germany

  • NICE, UK

  • PBAC and MSAC, Australia

  • IETS, Colombia

  • HIRA/NECA, S Korea

  • AHTAPol, Poland

  • CADTH, Canada

  • MOH/GNDP/NHIS, Ghana

  • HITAP, Thailand

Building capacity

Building capacity

  • Locally-led HTA-informed decision making requires:

  • Technical capacity

    • Systematic reviews / meta analysis

    • Health Economics

  • Political backing

  • Starting to do HTA can be a means of building and reinforcing such capacity. Example: Technical capacity at UK universities

Building capacity hta and policy making a symbiotic relationship

Building capacity: HTA and policy-making: a symbiotic relationship?

  • Academics in the field of HTA driving policy

  • Policy makers driving academic HTA research

    Result: Increased

  • knowledge

  • capacity

  • impact

    in both areas

Health technology assessment and evidence informed decision making

Need, demand, and supply are different in every country:

Demand for HTA

Who (departments, institutions) will be using the outputs of HTA?

Need for HTA:

What policy decisions will be informed by HTA?

Supply of HTA:

Who (departments, institutions) will be conducting HTA and running the HTA process?



  • HTA: a useful tool for policy makers to assess the value of a range of health technologies, including drugs, medical devices and disease prevention interventions; and help maximise the impact of finite healthcare budgets

  • A means of legitimising disinvestment decisions, and saving money to reinvest and expand coverage

  • Countries starting out in HTA should not wait for ‘full’ capacity to do HTA, but rather concentrate on using the policy need to drive capacity building

Some implications for ghana

Some implications for Ghana

  • HTA may be a useful tool for Ghanaian decision-makers in achieving their joint aims of expanding coverage, increasing care quality, and ensuring financial sustainability

  • Inclusive and transparent processes will be important in managing political tensions and ensuring the legitimacy of decisions

  • Ghana has well-developed institutions which could inform and contribute to such activity – important to build on these.

  • Need to consider who should convene and drive the process

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