• The University of Sheffield

Health Technology Assessment: Choosing Which Treatments Get Funded

Enhance your understanding of how new drugs and treatments are adopted by health services through health technology assessments.

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Explore the decision-making process behind healthcare technology assessment

Why are some treatments made available to patients while others are not?

On this course, you’ll explore how health technology assessment (HTA) informs whether we should have access to certain treatments on the NHS or other healthcare systems.

You’ll learn how decisions are made about which treatments are made available and the considerations that made surrounding benefits and costs.

This course is based on the University of Sheffield’s online distance-learning programme, the MSc International Health Technology Assessment. You can continue to learn about healthcare decision-making in our other online course Measuring and Valuing Health.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 15 seconds Have you ever wondered why some drugs are made available to patients via healthcare services such as the NHS while others are not? In this course, we’ll look at how healthcare organisations make decisions about whether we should have access to treatments, and we’ll focus on a key part of the information used in this decision making process - the Health Technology Assessment, or HTA for short.

Skip to 0 minutes and 39 seconds Over five weeks, we’ll take you through the processes that go into creating a Health Technology Assessment. We’ll investigate how HTA can help aid decision making by finding and bringing together a wide variety of evidence about both the effects of treatments, and what they cost, and their economic impacts. And we’ll look at how sophisticated research methods and techniques are used to bring this evidence together in a format that can be used in a variety of health systems around the world. We’ll look at some of the key stages in the HTA process in order to answer some questions about a new treatment, such as how do we know if the treatment is of benefit?

Skip to 1 minute and 15 seconds How can we make sense of all the evidence that’s out there? And how is evidence about the cost and economic impacts of drugs used within HTA? Finally, we’ll explore how the HTA report fits within the wider range of information used to make decisions about which treatments to fund. The educators for this course are based in the School of Health and Related Research at The University of Sheffield and are experts in this kind of research. So you’ll be learning from people who are both actively involved in HTA and in developing the research methods that are used.

Skip to 1 minute and 46 seconds We’ll hear from expert reviewers, health economists and researchers as they give insights into how they contribute to a final Health Technology Assessment report that could inform huge decisions about what treatments are available to you and to others. We want to help anyone, regardless of their previous knowledge of the subject, to understand more about HTA. So whether you’re a health professional, a carer, a patient, or simply an interested member of the public, the next time you hear a news story reporting that a drug is not going to be made available via health services, you will understand that it’s never simply a case of it being too expensive.

What topics will you cover?

We’ll look at some of the key processes of HTA in order to answer some key questions about a new treatment, such as:

  • How do we know if the treatment is of benefit?
  • How can we make sense of all the evidence?
  • How is evidence of the cost of drugs used in HTA?

We’ll also explore how the final HTA report fits within the wider range of information used to make decisions about which treatments to fund.

When would you like to start?

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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...

  • Explore the assessment process for a new health technology and how this applies to a potential decision outcome.
  • Explain the process behind decisions about which healthcare treatments are funded to a patient or member of the public.
  • Investigate a health technology assessment (HTA) and understand the evidence presented.
  • Contribute to an informed discussion about whether or not a new health technology is adopted and funded by the NHS, or other national healthcare system.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone who works in a medical or pharmaceutical profession, or who studies a healthcare subject such as medicine, nursing, healthcare or health economics and wants to better understand HTA.

This course will also be helpful for a patient or interested member of the public who wants to understand the HTA story behind the headlines.

You should have an interest in healthcare decision making and economics aspects, as this is at the core of HTA.

A basic familiarity with healthcare research will be helpful.

What do people say about this course?

I would definitely recommend this course to my peers.

"This course was very helpful to me. It gave me an overview of the HTA process. I would definitely recommend this course to my peers."

Who will you learn with?

I am an Information Specialist and University Teacher at the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) at the University of Sheffield.

Who developed the course?

The University of Sheffield

The University of Sheffield is one of the world’s top 100 universities with a reputation for teaching and research excellence.


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