Decisions on the status of health technologies

Hailey D, Harstall C
Record ID 32001000937
Authors' objectives: This report aims to assist health care decision-makers in Alberta who are responsible for funding the introduction and use of new health technologies. Specifically, it is intended to define the criteria which may be useful in delineating the status of a health technology from a health technology assessor's perspective and from a funder's perspective.
Authors' recomendations: - Coverage for a health technology is often denied if it is considered to be 'experimental'. The meaning of 'experimental' in this context is not always entirely clear, though it will be informed by the level of evidence available on the safety and efficacy of a technology. - Many technologies that can no longer be regarded as experimental, for example some that have been widely used, are still poorly defined in terms of their efficacy or effectiveness. Such technologies may be classified as 'not adequately validated'. - If the status of an emerging technology has been determined as 'experimental' or 'not adequately validated', further matters need to be considered in making a decision on whether to provide coverage. Health technology assessments indicate that these include the nature of the condition for which the technology is to be used and the availability of effective alternative methods. Opinions from provincial decision-makers suggested that levels of benefit compared to those from alternative interventions and quality of life or functional status of the patient are important considerations. - Decisions on many emerging technologies will be complex. Availability of relevant data within a realistic time may often present difficulties. There may be a tension between the wish to ensure adequate safety and efficacy and the avoidance of unreasonable delays in the introduction of promising technologies. Approaches which use a combination of different technologies may be particularly difficult to assess. - In determining whether to provide coverage for an emerging technology, decision-makers should consider: 1. Whether the technology is still experimental (number of persons who have received the intervention, quality of evidence of safety and efficacy, length of follow up). 2. Whether the technology is adequately validated if it is not experimental (quality of evidence of efficacy or effectiveness). 3. Relevance to the local health care system and patient population. 4. Factors that influence HTA recommendations, including the nature of the disease or condition in question, performance and availability of alternative technologies, expected incremental benefit and availability of adequate competency. 5. Other factors, including effects on budgets, potential cost-effectiveness of the technology and equity and access for those who might benefit from its use. 6. Conditional coverage for a new technology, for example linking reimbursement to collection of additional data, requires active management after the decision has been implemented.
Authors' methods: Review
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 2001
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: Canada
MeSH Terms
  • Technology Assessment, Biomedical
Organisation Name: Institute of Health Economics
Contact Address: 1200, 10405 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T5J 3N4. Tel: +1 780 448 4881; Fax: +1 780 448 0018;
Contact Name:
Contact Email:
Copyright: Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR)
This is a bibliographic record of a published health technology assessment from a member of INAHTA or other HTA producer. No evaluation of the quality of this assessment has been made for the HTA database.