• University of Glasgow

Introduction to Health Technology Assessment

Learn about health technology assessment (HTA) and quality of life (QoL), and how they’re used to decide which treatments to fund

4,100 enrolled on this course

Get an introduction to health technology assessment (HTA)

This online course provides a short, interactive introduction to health technology assessment (HTA), based on the University of Glasgow’s successful online distance-learning programme, the MSc in HTA.

You’ll find out what health technology assessment is, and how it’s used to assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of new healthcare treatments.

You’ll look at the concept of Quality of Life (QoL) and how it’s measured, and explore the tough decisions governments face when choosing which treatments to fund.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds JIM LEWSEY: Today, decision-makers face many challenges in how best to allocate health care resources. These challenges present themselves across the globe in low, middle, and high-income countries. They also present at different levels of decision-making– at the national level by government health ministers, and at local levels, for example, by hospital management teams. What is the cause of these changes? Well, one important reason is that, in recent times, we’ve seen levels of technological innovation increase to unprecedented levels. Such innovation aims to improve health and health care for many disease areas and conditions. It is worth pointing out from the outset that technologies are not just drugs and medical devices.

Skip to 0 minutes and 49 seconds It also refers to new health policies, such as smoking bans, or a change in how health care service is organised or delivered, such as telemedicine. The demand for new technologies is high, especially if they are backed up by good evidence. And unfortunately, health services cannot sustain all new developments when working within a fixed budget, therefore, decision-makers faced difficult choices. This is where Health Technology Assessment, HTA comes in. HTA helps decision-makers make informed choices by interrogating the relevant information about new technologies.

Skip to 1 minute and 23 seconds Key questions that HTA addresses are does the technology work, does it work for all, is it safe, does it provide value for money, what should we compare the technology to, and who are all the stakeholders that need to be involved? In this course, you will learn about the fundamental concepts of HTA, and we will provide an overview of the different stages of the entire HTA process. If you are taking this course because you are considering a career in HTA, we hope that this is a useful first step for you. Career prospects in HTA are good and set to increase as more and more governments across the world set up HTA agencies to formally evaluate health technologies. Hello.

Skip to 2 minutes and 2 seconds My name is Dr. Jim Lewsey, and I work in the Health Economics and Health Technology Assessment– HEHTA for short– research group at the University of Glasgow. In this course, you will learn about the fundamental concepts of HTA and we’ll provide an overview of the different stages of the entire HTA process. If you are taking this course because you are interested in a career in HTA, we hope this is a helpful first step for you.


  • Week 1

    Welcome to HTA

    • Introduction to HTA

      Here we will learn a little about each other, introduce HTA and begin to explore HTA's underpinning methodologies.

    • HTA: a further exploration

      Here we will continue our HTA journey by reviewing the stages of HTA and discussing a case study.

  • Week 2

    Decision Making in HTA

    • How do we make decisions using HTA?

      Here we explore the complexities of prioritisation, decision making, different perspectives and related costs.

    • Measuring health and quality of life

      Here we investigate how to measure health, introduce the quality adjusted life year, and put ourselves in the shoes of a health minister faced with a difficult decision.

  • Week 3

    Practice and Multidisciplinary in HTA

    • HTA in practice

      Here we look at real-world applications of HTA from the Health Economics and Health Technology Assessment group at the University of Glasgow.

    • Multidisciplinary HTA

      Here we conclude by discussing the multidisciplinary nature of HTA with the aid of some real-world examples.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe the multidisciplinary nature of Health Technology Assessment (HTA)
  • Develop an appreciation for the diverse range of skills and knowledge involved at each stage of HTA
  • Explain the concept of quality of life and understand how it can be measured
  • Reflect that when working within a fixed health budget tough decisions have to be made
  • Explore the concept of cost-effectiveness and how that can assist in making tough decisions in HTA

Who is the course for?

Introduction to Health Technology Assessment is open to anyone. No prior experience or qualifications are necessary. It may be particularly useful to recent graduates, who are interested in health research, but not sure which next steps to take.

While the Educators themselves aren’t available to facilitate this run, we encourage you to engage with other learners and there are opportunities to do this throughout the course.

Who will you learn with?

Jim is a Professor of Medical Statistics at the University of Glasgow. Jim is programme director and teaches on the MSc in Health Technology Assessment (HTA)

Camilla is a research assistant at the University of Glasgow. She works primarily on the use of stated preference methodology and mixed methods to explore the economics of population health

Who developed the course?

The University of Glasgow

Founded in 1451, the University of Glasgow is the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world. It is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of leading UK research universities.

  • Established

  • Location

    Glasgow, Scotland, UK
  • World ranking

    Top 70Source: QS World University Rankings 2020

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