What is a Health Technology? Any form of intervention to improve health, such as drugs, devices, diagnostic tests, medical equipment and procedures relating to health care and its services, including prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a condition.
A medical technology includes medical devices, in vitro diagnostics, imaging equipment and e-health solutions used to diagnose, monitor, assess predispositions and treat patients suffering from a wide range of conditions.
What is a Health Technology Assessment?
A health technology assessment (HTA) is the systematic evaluation of the intended and unintended effects of health technologies on the lives of patients and the health care systems, and society such as:
- The clinical effectiveness, or how well a therapeutic health technology works in the ‘real‐world’
- The clinical utility of diagnostic tests, or how the information provided by a test helps patients make better choices on their health and health care professionals can select the most advantageous management strategy while the health system can keep working properly,
- The cost‐effectiveness, showing whether a health technology will provide value for money compared with another technology,
- The socio-economic benefits of health technologies, such as the ability of the people to return to work sooner, the improvement in the quality of life, and the lower financial and emotional burden for family and carers if the patient can be managed at home and disease progression is avoided,
- The ethical and legal impacts
The main purpose of HTA is to inform health care policy and decision makers on whether to reimburse and use a technology and if so, how it is best used and who will benefit most from it.
How is HTA done?
HTA differs according to the type of questions decision makers ask over the technology being reviewed, but the main principles are the same: they are systematic evaluations of the properties and effects of the technology. They are conducted by interdisciplinary groups and use a variety of scientific methods, including statistics and health economics, and reviewing data (clinical, economic and increasingly patient outcomes data). Stakeholder involvement (patients, doctors, decision makers and technology manufacturers) is key to the success of an HTA as many contextual factors impact the way the HTA is done, as well as its result and its acceptance.
MedTech Europe and HTA
MedTech Europe works closely with the European Commission and stakeholders to make sure that the specificities of medical technologies and market access pathways are recognised, and that the HTA is made fit-for-purpose. MedTech Europe supports an appropriate policy environment to foster the development and access to innovative and valuable medical technologies, and works to ensure the value they bring to patients, society and health systems is adequately recognised.
MedTech Europe is engaged with EUnetHTA JA 3 and is an observer at the European HTA Network. MedTech Europe also contributes to European Research initiatives and engagement at HTA International conferences and Special interest groups.
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Below are some of MedTech Europe's main documents on HTA