About the International HTA Database
The international HTA database provides free access to bibliographic information about ongoing and published health technology assessments commissioned or undertaken by HTA organisations from around the world. This includes INAHTA members and non-INAHTA members. The database provides a single point of access to information that would otherwise be more difficult and time-consuming to search for on individual agency websites.
INAHTA has taken on the responsibility for the production of the HTA database. This was previously done by the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD), University of York, England. The database was started by the CRD in 1996 and, in fact, it used the INAHTA Briefs as a seed database for the new international platform.
The former database was produced by the CRD until March 2018, at which time the addition of records was stopped as INAHTA was in the process of rebuilding the new database platform. In July 2019, the database records were exported from the CRD platform and imported into the new platform that was developed by INAHTA. The rebuild of the new platform was launched in June 2020.
Description of Records
The HTA database is a valuable source for identifying grey literature as much of the information it contains is only available directly from individual funding agencies. Database content is supplied by the members of INAHTA and by other international HTA organizations, making a total of 120 HTA producers with records listed on the database. The HTA database includes completed and ongoing health technology assessments from around the world. Bibliographic details and contact information are provided for published projects, and the authors’ conclusions are included for some projects. Links to reports, project pages and/ or organization websites are provided wherever possible.
The HTA database is unique in that it contains records of ongoing HTA projects, which are updated on the database when projects are completed. This enables funders and researchers to identify work already in progress and may help reduce unintended duplication of effort.
The structure of the new database generally follows that of the former database but with important improvements:
- Expanded records that include more abstract information, i.e., authors' objectives, conclusions and results, recommendations, methods and identified further research/reviews required. These fields improve the utility and searchability of the records.
- Streamlined and strengthened search function for visitors, contributors, and administrators.
- Filters for refining search results.
Many different types of research are included in the HTA database, e.g., ongoing and completed health technology assessments based on systematic reviews, trials, non-experimental studies, and economic evaluations. The HTA database does not use quality inclusion criteria to select records for the database and published reports are not critically appraised. However, all records in the database are publications and projects from INAHTA members and other internationally recognized HTA organizations, and all new content is checked for face validity and proof read by the database content administrator at the INAHTA secretariat.
Addition of new records and updates
Since March 2018, the database has been “on hold” as the new platform was being built. However, there were a number of records “waiting in the queue” to be processed and added to the database. The content administrator has completed this work and there are currently 792 more records on the new database than the old one (see Table 1).
Table 1. Comparison of records on the old and new database, as at 4 April 2020
|Record type||Old database||New database|
In Table 1, the volume of records for ongoing HTAs is much lower on the new platform since they need to be reviewed and either confirmed as ongoing projects or converted into records for completed reports. This review is currently underway and it is expected these records will be available in due course.
The database will be updated on a rolling basis, and it is anticipated there will be new records available each month.
INAHTA would like to extend their gratitude to all HTA colleagues who contribute and keep the information in the database up-to-date.
Contact Details for the international HTA database
The administration of the international HTA database is undertaken by the secretariat of INAHTA, which is located at the Institute of Health Economics. Contact details are as follows:
c/o Institute of Health Economics
#1200, 10405 Jasper Avenue NW
Edmonton, Alberta, T5J 3N4
Tel: +01 780 401 1770
Fax: +01 780 448 0018
The International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) is a network of 51 HTA agencies that support health system decision making that affects over 1 billion people in 32 countries around the globe. With more than 2,100 staff and consultants working in the INAHTA network, there are clear benefits to connecting these agencies together to cooperate and share information about producing and disseminating HTA reports for evidence-based decision making.
About Health Technology Assessment
What is Health Technology Assessment (HTA)?
The definition of HTA is provided below, with important clarifying information provided in four accompanying notes:
HTA is a multidisciplinary process that uses explicit methods to determine the value of a health technology at different points in its lifecycle. The purpose is to inform decision-making in order to promote an equitable, efficient, and high-quality health system.
Note 1: A health technology is an intervention developed to prevent, diagnose or treat medical conditions; promote health; provide rehabilitation; or organize healthcare delivery. The intervention can be a test, device, medicine, vaccine, procedure, program or system. (Definition from the HTA Glossary)
Note 2: The process is formal, systematic and transparent, and uses state-of-the-art methods to consider the best available evidence.
Note 3: The dimensions of value for a health technology may be assessed by examining the intended and unintended consequences of using a health technology compared to existing alternatives. These dimensions often include clinical effectiveness, safety, costs and economic implications, ethical, social, cultural and legal issues, organisational and environmental aspects, as well as wider implications for the patient, relatives, caregivers, and the population. The overall value may vary depending on the perspective taken, the stakeholders involved, and the decision context.
Note 4: HTA can be applied at different points in the lifecycle of a health technology, i.e., pre-market, during market approval, post-market, through to the disinvestment of a health technology.