The Health Technology Expert Review Panel is an advisory body to Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) that develops recommendations on health technology assessments (HTAs) for nondrug health technologies using a deliberative framework. The framework spans several domains, including the environmental impact of the health technology(ies). Our research objective was to identify articles on frameworks, methods or case studies on the environmental impact assessment of health technologies.
A literature search in major databases and a focused gray literature search were conducted. The main search concepts were HTA and environmental impact/sustainability. Eligible articles were those that described a conceptual framework or methods used to conduct an environmental assessment of health technologies, and case studies on the application of an environmental assessment.
From the 1,710 citations identified, thirteen publications were included. Two articles presented a framework to incorporate environmental assessment in HTAs. Other approaches described weight of evidence practices and comprehensive and integrated environmental impact assessments. Central themes derived include transparency and repeatability, integration of components in a framework or of evidence into a single outcome, data availability to ensure the accuracy of findings, and familiarity with the approach used.
Each framework and methods presented have different foci related to the ecosystem, health economics, or engineering practices. Their descriptions suggested transparency, repeatability, and the integration of components or of evidence into a single outcome as their main strengths. Our review is an initial step of a larger initiative by CADTH to develop the methods and processes to address the environmental impact question in an HTA.