Towards Integrated Health Technology Assessment for Improving Decision Making in Selected Countries
Abstract Objectives To assess the level of comprehensiveness of health technology assessment (HTA) practices around the globe and to formulate recommendations for enhancing legitimacy and fairness of related decision-making processes. Methods To identify best practices, we developed an evaluation framework consisting of 13 criteria on the basis of the INTEGRATE-HTA model (integrative perspective on assessing health technologies) and the Accountability for Reasonableness framework (deliberative appraisal process). We examined different HTA systems in middle-income countries (Argentina, Brazil, and Thailand) and high-income countries (Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Scotland, and South Korea). For this purpose, desk research and structured interviews with relevant key stakeholders (N = 32) in the selected countries were conducted. Results HTA systems in Canada, England, and Scotland appear relatively well aligned with our framework, followed by Australia, Germany, and France. Argentina and South Korea are at an early stage, whereas Brazil and Thailand are at an intermediate level. Both desk research and interviews revealed that scoping is often not part of the HTA process. In contrast, providing evidence reports for assessment is well established. Indirect and unintended outcomes are increasingly considered, but there is room for improvement. Monitoring and evaluation of the HTA process is not well established across countries. Finally, adopting transparent and robust processes, including stakeholder consultation, takes time. Conclusions This study presents a framework for assessing the level of comprehensiveness of the HTA process in a country. On the basis of applying the framework, we formulate recommendations on how the HTA community can move toward a more integrated decision-making process using HTA.