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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 secondsThe first thing to understand about health technology assessment, or HTA, is that it's not all about technology. When we refer to HTA, the technology in question could be any medical intervention, including surgical interventions, such as a heart bypass or hip replacement, medical devices, such as pacemakers, or most commonly, a pharmaceutical drug. The best-known formal definition of HTA comes from IHAHTA, the International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessment. They define HTA as 'A multidisciplinary field of policy analysis studying the medical, economic, social, and ethical implications of the development, diffusion, and use of health technology.' In simple terms, this means that within HTA we study the clinical effectiveness of a medical intervention such as a new drug, (i.e.

Skip to 0 minutes and 58 secondshow much does it benefit patients compared to what treatments, if any, are currently available), what the economic impact of making it available to patients would be, how health policy might be impacted by the new technology becoming available, and what the social and ethical implications might be for patients and wider society. It is a very multidisciplinary activity, focused not just on costs or benefits, but a wider range of issues. In brief, the core activities and aims of HTA

Skip to 1 minute and 29 secondscould be defined as: A process which examines multiple aspects of the value of a new or existing health technology, such as a new drug, with the purpose of informing decisions that have to be made about the adoption of that technology. These decisions may be about whether to adopt a technology at all, in which kinds of patients, or for how long. All these issues may be addressed in a single health technology assessment. HTAs are commonly carried out by independent agencies or university departments at the request of those who hold healthcare budgets, such as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, NICE, in the UK, or the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee in Australia.

Skip to 2 minutes and 12 secondsCrucially, HTA is a highly practical and applied form of research, which is designed to directly impact on decision making within healthcare by bringing together and synthesising the research evidence about the effectiveness of a new treatment, its costs, and any improvements it brings to patients' quality of life. HTA requires a wide range of expertise and methodological skills to ensure that the final HTA report is an accurate and fair reflection of the best current research evidence and data about a health technology.

Skip to 2 minutes and 43 secondsIn an environment where funding for healthcare is not infinite, and budgets may be strictly fixed for years at a time, it's inevitable that policymakers need a range of reliable information to inform the decision making process, and HTA plays a vital role here.

What is HTA?

This course is all about HTA - but what exactly does this mean?

In this animated video, Claire introduces us to the core activities and aims of HTA.

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Health Technology Assessment: Choosing Which Treatments Get Funded

The University of Sheffield