Health Technology Reassessment (HTR) is a structured, evidence-based assessment of the clinical, social, ethical and economic effects of a technology currently used in the health care system, to inform optimal use of that technology in comparison to its alternatives. Little is known about current international HTR practices. The objective of this research was to summarize experience-based information gathered from international experts on the development, initiation and implementation of a HTR program.
A mixed methods approach, using a survey and in-depth interviews, was adopted. The survey covered 8 concepts: prioritization/identification of potentially obsolete technologies; program development; implementation; mitigation; program championing; stakeholder engagement; monitoring; and reinvestment. Members of Health Technology Assessment International (HTAi) and the International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) formed the sampling frame. Participation was solicited via email and the survey was administered online using SurveyMonkey. Survey results were analyzed using descriptive statistics. To gather more in-depth knowledge, semi-structured interviews were conducted among organizations with active HTR programs. Interview questions were developed using the same 8 concepts. The hour-long interviews were recorded, transcribed and analyzed using constant comparative analysis.
Ninety-five individuals responded to the survey: 49 were not discussing HTR, 21 were beginning to discuss HTR, nine were imminently developing a program, and 16 participants had programs and were completing reassessments. The survey results revealed that methods vary widely and that although HTR is a powerful tool, it is currently not being used to its full potential. Of the 16 with active programs, nine agreed to participate in follow-up interviews. Interview participants identified early and extensive stakeholder engagement as the most important factors for success. A lack of top-down support and financial and human resources are inhibiting program development.
HTR is in its infancy. Although HTRs are being conducted, there are no standardized approaches. However, much can be learned from current international work. Future work should focus on developing a comprehensive methodology, reporting the processes of reassessments and sharing successes and challenges in a common platform.