Horizon scanning of new and emerging medical technology in Australia: its relevance to Medical Services Advisory Committee health technology assessments and public funding.

Published on Jul 1, 2009in International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care1.418
· DOI :10.1017/S0266462309990031
Sue P. O'Malley4
Estimated H-index: 4
(Macquarie University),
Ernest Jordan12
Estimated H-index: 12
(Macquarie University)
Objectives: In 1998, a formal process using full health technology assessments (HTAs) was implemented to determine the suitability for public subsidy of new and emerging medical technologies in the Australian private healthcare sector. This process is overseen by the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC). In 2004, horizon scanning was introduced in Australia with the stated objective of identifying new and emerging medical technologies into the public healthcare sector, with consideration to the publicly subsidized private healthcare sector. How well horizon scanning works in identifying new and emerging technologies suitable for government subsidized funding in the private healthcare sector is examined in this study. Methods: A descriptive evaluation of the impact of horizon scanning as an early alert and awareness system identifying new and emerging technologies before these technologies are submitted to MSAC for a full HTA. All MSAC HTAs commenced after the introduction of horizon scanning in 2004 were cross-checked with the list of Prioritizing Summaries or Horizon Scanning Reports to determine whether a prior Prioritizing Summary or Horizon Scanning Report had been carried out. Results: Of the forty-three technologies that were the subject of a full MSAC HTAs in the time period examined, only eleven had been the subject of either a Prioritizing Summary or Horizon Scanning Report. As a result of a full MSAC HTA, twelve of the technologies that were not the subject of a Prioritizing Summary or Horizon Scanning Report were given positive recommendations for public funding. Conclusions: Horizon scanning was set up to scan the introduction of new and emerging medical technologies into the public healthcare sector, with consideration to the publicly subsidized private healthcare sector. Based on the number of new and emerging technologies that have been the subject of a full MSAC HTA without first being subjected to either a Prioritizing Summary or Horizon Scanning Report, horizon scanning in Australia does not function as an “early alert and awareness system” for funding in the publicly subsidized private healthcare sector in Australia.
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