Selection of new health technologies for assessment aimed at informing decision making: A survey among horizon scanning systems.
ABSTRACT Uncertainty is pervasive in decision making on new health technologies; therefore, some countries have put systems in place to support decision makers with timely information. An important, but as yet undocumented, determinant of the potential value for decision making of these so-called horizon scanning systems (HSSs) is how the most significant health technologies are selected.
All thirteen member organizations of EuroScan, a collaborative network for HSSs, were surveyed and interviewed on how they prioritize technologies for assessment.
The majority of HSSs directly serves a customer. Some customers actively request early assessments of new health technologies, thereby diminishing the need for priority setting for the HSSs. All systems express a concern to miss an important technology and/or to select an unimportant technology. Almost all HSSs use explicit selection criteria, but these criteria hardly ever are operationalized. The number of criteria used varies, but costs and health benefit of the technology are always taken into account. The process of reaching a final decision is implicit, undocumented in all but one system, and is based on agreement by consensus.
The process of making the final decision on which technologies to assess can be improved by applying existing criteria more consistently and transparently. Current practice does not safeguard against missing an important technology. This finding is probably most important to act upon for systems with customers that do not actively request assessment of specific technologies.
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ABSTRACT: The resources for health technology assessment fall short of that needed to evaluate all health technologies. Therefore, priorities have to be set. In The Netherlands, the Health Care Insurance Board tried to address this issue by developing a more explicit priority setting procedure for the Fund for Investigative Medicine, which is the most important health technology assessment programme in The Netherlands. The procedure provides one of the first examples of the application of theoretical principles for priority setting. The aim is to select those health technologies for assessment that are most relevant for policy-making. To determine the policy relevance of research proposals, different procedures for categorising, scoring, and weighting policy criteria were defined, and different classification strategies were explored. Our first experiences using the priority setting procedure are described by means of an example on low back pain. Subsequently, the procedure has been applied to research proposals submitted to the Fund for Investigative Medicine in 1998 to illustrate how decisions on the funding of health technology assessments can be guided. The results show a different rating of research proposals into one of three predefined categories of policy relevance, high, intermediate and low, implying that decisions about funding can heavily dependent on the selected procedure. Therefore, it seems to be important that the selected procedure reflects the viewpoint of the organisation wishing to set priorities. The different ratings of the research proposals using a more explicit procedure suggest that there may be scope for further development and application of the procedure.Health Policy 01/2003; 62(3):227-42. · 1.55 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to determine how horizon-scanning organizations can encourage the implementation of recommendations contained in their early warning messages about emerging health technologies. We reviewed the conclusions of the EUR-ASSESS Project Subgroup report on dissemination and impact, an overview of systematic reviews of interventions to promote implementation of research findings by health care professionals, and various Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care Group protocols and reviews. The evidence on the effectiveness of different implementation strategies aimed at distinct target groups is of variable quality. There is some evidence from rigorous study designs on the effectiveness of strategies designed to influence the behavior of health care professionals; the quality of the evidence relating to policy makers and the general public is more limited. Horizon-scanning organizations can improve the likelihood of their recommendations being acted upon by developing active implementation strategies based on the best available evidence, establishing links with key groups, and directing early warning messages at specific target audiences. Given the relative lack of good quality evidence, it is important that implementation strategies be rigorously evaluated to determine their effectiveness.International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care 02/1998; 14(4):663-70. · 1.55 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Despite important progress in understanding the molecular factors underlying the development of cancer and the improvement in response rates with new drugs, long-term survival is still disappointing for most common solid tumours. This might be because very little of the modest gain for patients is the result of the new compounds discovered and marketed recently. An assessment of the regulatory agencies' performance may suggest improvements. The present analysis summarizes and evaluates the type of studies and end points used by the EMEA to approve new anticancer drugs, and discusses the application of current regulations. This report is based on the information available on the EMEA web site. We identified current regulatory requirements for anticancer drugs promulgated by the agency and retrieved them in the relevant directory; information about empirical evidence supporting the approval of drugs for solid cancers through the centralised procedure were retrieved from the European Public Assessment Report (EPAR). We surveyed documents for drug applications and later extensions from January 1995, when EMEA was set up, to December 2004. We identified 14 anticancer drugs for 27 different indications (14 new applications and 13 extensions). Overall, 48 clinical studies were used as the basis for approval; randomised comparative (clinical) trial (RCT) and Response Rate were the study design and end points most frequently adopted (respectively, 25 out of 48 and 30 out of 48). In 13 cases, the EPAR explicitly reported differences between arms in terms of survival: the range was 0-3.7 months, and the mean and median differences were 1.5 and 1.2 months. The majority of studies (13 out of 27, 48%) involved the evaluation of complete and/or partial tumour responses, with regard to the end points supporting the 27 indications. Despite the recommendations of the current EMEA guidance documents, new anticancer agents are still often approved on the basis of small single arm trials that do not allow any assessment of an 'acceptable and extensively documented toxicity profile' and of end points such as response rate, time to progression or progression-free survival which at best can be considered indicators of anticancer activity and are not 'justified surrogate markers for clinical benefit'. Anticipating an earlier than ideal point along the drug approval path and the use of not fully validated surrogate end points in nonrandomised trials looks like a dangerous shortcut that might jeopardise consumers' health, leading to unsafe and ineffective drugs being marketed and prescribed. The present Note for Guidance for new anticancer agents needs revising. Drugs must be rapidly released for patients who need them but not be at the expense of adequate knowledge about the real benefit of the drugs.British Journal of Cancer 10/2005; 93(5):504-9. · 5.08 Impact Factor