Austria: History of health technology assessment during the past 20 years
Published on Jul 1, 2009in International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care1.418
· DOI :10.1017/S026646230909045X
ur Health Technology Assessment Objectives: The aim of this article is to describe and analyze the stages toward recognition and implementation of health technology assessment (HTA). Methods: System analysis of structures and institutions and their use of HTA. Results: Austria is a latecomer in implementing evaluations/HTA as decision support. It can to a certain degree absorb the increasing international knowledge. Austria had a long time to observe the successes and failures of HTA in other countries and to learn from other countries. The implementation of HTA within the Austrian healthcare system ran through stages of uptake: starting 1989 with a systematic review on international activities, first international networking and collaboration since 1991, proposed assessments until the late 1990s, followed by reactive assessments on demand mostly on high volume and costly technologies since then. Since 2000, HTA is used on a regular basis for investment and reimbursement decisions by several players, namely the Ministry of Health, the Social Insurance and hospital cooperations. In 2006, the Austrian HTA-institute was founded. Conclusions: It took approximately 15 years from first research activities in HTA to an institutionalization. HTA in Austria is not only product- but also process-oriented: The actual production of assessments for decision support is as important as the structuring and accompanying of the process of decisions making. In addition, shaping the public understanding of science (characterized by the intrinsic belief that all new medical interventions provide added value to the healthcare system) is part of Austrian HTA.