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Defining the role of the public in Health Technology Assessment (HTA) and HTA-informed decision-making processes

  • Jackie Street (a1), Tania Stafinski (a2), Edilene Lopes (a3) and Devidas Menon (a4)



The terminology used to describe community participation in Health Technology Assessment (HTA) is contested and frequently confusing. The terms patients, consumers, public, lay members, customers, users, citizens, and others have been variously used, sometimes interchangeably. Clarity in the use of terms and goals for including the different groups is needed to mitigate existing inconsistencies in the application of patient and public involvement (PPI) across HTA processes around the world.


We drew from a range of literature sources in order to conceptualize (i) an operational definition for the “public” and other stakeholders in the context of HTA and (ii) possible goals for their involvement. Draft definitions were tested and refined in an iterative consensus-building process with stakeholders from around the world.


The goals, terminology, interests, and roles for PPI in HTA processes were clarified. The research provides rationales for why the role of the public should be distinguished from that of patients, their families, and caregivers. A definition for the public in the context of HTA was developed: A community member who holds the public interest and has no commercial, personal, or professional interest in the HTA process


There are two distinct aspects to the interests held by the public which should be explicitly included in the HTA process: the first lies in ensuring democratic accountability and the second in recognising the importance of including public values in decision making.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Jackie Street, E-mail:


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Defining the role of the public in Health Technology Assessment (HTA) and HTA-informed decision-making processes

  • Jackie Street (a1), Tania Stafinski (a2), Edilene Lopes (a3) and Devidas Menon (a4)


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