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Online course

Health Technology Assessment: Choosing Which Treatments Get Funded

Find out how new drugs and treatments are assessed before being introduced.

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No access to course tests
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • Access to course tests
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Health Technology Assessment: Choosing Which Treatments Get Funded

Understand why and how new health technologies are funded.

This course will help you understand how and why drugs and treatments are funded and discover how healthcare organisations make decisions about whether we should have access to certain treatments.

You will focus on a key part of the information used to make these decisions - Health Technology Assessment (HTA).

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 15 secondsHave 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 secondsOver 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 secondsHow 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 secondsWe'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?

In this course we looked at:

  • What health technology assessment is and how it is applied by healthcare decision-makers to inform the choices they make about which drugs and treatments should be made available to patients- this means looking at both the benefits or effects of the treatment, and its costs.
  • The kinds of evidence that can help us to decide whether a treatment is of benefit, and how much of a benefit it gives.
  • The range of evidence types, with a focus on clinical trials, what they can offer, their limitations and why they are particularly important for HTA.
  • The methods used to bring the existing research and evidence about a treatment together, so we can get a clear picture of what benefits the treatment offers. To do this, we looked at a technique called ‘sytematic reviewing’ which combines the evidence into a single report, and uses statistical techniques to bring the data from a number of studies together to create a single estimate of the effects of a treatment.
  • The ways in which the costs of drugs and the economic impacts can be compared with those of existing treatments. To do this we looked at how a specific research technique, economic modelling, is used. We looked at the different kinds of model, their value in HTA and how they are combined with the evidence from our systematic review of the clinical effectiveness of a treatment to produce estimates of costs/benefit. We also looked at the final HTA report, to give a direct insight into the information that decision makers are presented with. We looked at how decision makers use the HTA report, in conjunction with a wider range of information and input, to make a final decision.
  • We finished by briefly looking at how a decision to make a treatment available (or not) impacts on other health services.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

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 will help you understand how and why choices about drugs and treatments have been made. It may inspire you to think about a career in healthcare, local decision-making or academia.

Continuing Professional Development

If you are currently working in healthcare, pharmaceuticals or medical research then this course could be a valuable addition to your continuing professional development and will help you to better understand decision making and economics in your field of practice.

You can prove your CPD by upgrading the course and earn a certificate that details the hours you spent learning, what the course covered and the course start date.

Take your understanding further: Learn about Measuring and Valuing Health

The HTA process depends on many sources of information coming together to provide an assessment. Take your knowledge of healthcare decision-making further and learn about health outcomes with our previous course Measuring and Valuing Health.

This course looks more closely into one of the factors which helps to inform healthcare decisions. Costs are fairly straightforward to calculate but what about the benefits? How do we measure and value these benefits?

You’ll learn about how patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) are developed and implemented. You’ll also learn what quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) are and how they are generated including describing health states and how they can be valued through methods such as Time Trade Off. Sign up here.

Study with the University of Sheffield

You may even wish to take your learning further, with the University of Sheffield’s Masters degrees and short courses in areas such as health economics, public health and international healthcare technology assessment.

Who will you learn with?

Claire Beecroft

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

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No access to course tests
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • Access to course tests
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Get extra benefits, upgrade this course. For $99 you'll get:

Unlimited access

Upgrading will mean you get unlimited access to the course.

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  • Take the course at your own pace
  • Refer to the material at any point in future

If you’re taking a course for free you have access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join. If you upgrade the course you have access for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn.

Access to tests

When you upgrade you’ll have access to any tests during the course.

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  • Validate your learning
  • Ensure you have mastered the material
  • Qualify for a certificate

To receive a Certificate of Achievement you need to take any tests and score over 70%. You don’t get access to tests if you choose to take a course for free.

Certificate of Achievement

Upgrading means you’ll receive a Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course.

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  • Prove your success when applying for jobs or courses
  • Celebrate your hard work
  • Display on your LinkedIn or CV
  • Includes free shipping

To receive a Certificate of Achievement you need to mark 90% of the steps on the course as complete, and score over 70% on any course tests.