Skip to main content Accessibility help


  • Wija Oortwijn (a1), Laura Sampietro-Colom (a2), Fay Habens (a3) and Rebecca Trowman (a4)



For many years, several health technology assessment (HTA) agencies scanned the horizon to identify health technologies that were safe, effective and offer value for money. However, there is limited evidence regarding its impact. The role of horizon scanning in preparing health systems for the uptake of new and emerging health technologies was discussed during the 2018 HTA International (HTAi) Global Policy Forum Meeting.


Reflection of the discussion between seventy-two senior representatives from for-profit, not-for-profit organizations, and HTAi leadership. It was informed by a background paper, and presentations from four invited experts and seventeen Policy Forum members.


Current horizon scanning systems (HSS) mainly identify health technologies in the late stage of development, aiming to inform topic selection for HTA. Areas for improvement included the need for a clearer definition of the end user(s), purpose, scope, and focus of HSS, the long-term full health system effects, including all relevant stakeholders as early as possible, and considering smart data systems and international collaboration to improve HSS's efficiency. The way in which HSS could be further optimized and better shaped to prepare health systems was also discussed and good practice examples were presented.


HSS have not yet reached their full potential in preparing health systems. To improve the current situation, the HTA community could act as convenors, bringing together all relevant stakeholders and providing the information that decision makers need. This would require a new, more integrative approach to define and use HSS and HTA, and requires new skills.



Hide All

We thank all Policy Forum Committee members for steering our work: Barbara Calvert, Abbott; Joseph Cook, Pfizer Inc.; Tammy Clifford, Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH), Canada; Wim Goettsch, National Health Care Institute (ZIN), The Netherlands; Elizabeth Cobbs, Merck; Andrew Mitchell, Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC), Australia; and Sean Tunis, Centre for Medical Technology Policy (CMTP), US. We also thank the HTAi Policy Forum attendees for sharing their thoughts and experiences during the HTAi Policy Forum 2018 (see Supplementary Table 1).



Hide All
1.OECD. New health technologies: Managing access, value and sustainability. Paris: OECD Publishing. January 16, 2017; p. 71. (accessed March 7, 2018).
2.Velasco-Garrido, M, Busse, R. Health technology assessment. An introduction to objectives, role of evidence, and structure in Europe. Brussels: European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies; 2005.
3.Douw, K, Vondeling, H, Eskildsen, D, Simpson, S. Use of the internet in scanning the horizon for new and emerging health technologies: A survey of agencies involved in horizon scanning. J Med Internet Res. 2003;5:e6.
4.Packer, C, Fung, M, Stevens, A. Analyzing 10 years of early awareness and alert activity in the United Kingdom. Int J Technol Assess Health Care. 2012;28:308314.
5.Godman, B, Oortwijn, W, De Waure, C, et al. Links between pharmaceutical R&D models and access to affordable medicines. European Parliament. Directorate General for Internal Policies. Policy Department A: Economic and scientific Policy. European Union, PE 587.321 EN. IP/A/ENVI/2015-06, October 2016. (accessed March 6, 2018).
6.Health Technology Assessment international. Global Policy Forum. (accessed March 7, 2018).
7.Husereau, D, on behalf of the HTAi Policy Forum, 2016 Policy Forum Background Paper. Changing HTA Paradigms, 8 January, 2016. (accessed March 6, 2018).
8.Oortwijn, W, on behalf of the HTAi Policy Forum. 2017 Background Paper. From theory to action: Developments in value frameworks to inform the allocation of health care resources. (accessed March 5, 2018).
9.Oortwijn, W, on behalf of the HTAi Policy Forum. Facing the dynamics of future innovation: The role of HTA, industry and health system in scanning the horizon. Background Paper 2018 Policy Forum. (accessed April 20, 2018).
10.Chatham House. The Royal Institute of International Affairs. Chatham House Rule. (accessed March 5, 2018).
11.Murphy, K, Packer, C, Stevens, A, Simpson, A. Effective early warning systems for new and emerging health technologies: Developing an evaluation framework and an assessment of current systems. Int J Technol Assess Health Care. 2007;23:324330.
12.Banta, H, Jonnson, E. History of HTA: Introduction. Int J Technol Assess Health Care. 2009;(Suppl 1):16.
13.EUnetHTA. EUnetHTA WP7 research and analysis activity 1: Final report. An analysis of HTA and reimbursement procedures in HTA partner countries: Final report, 2017. (accessed April 5, 2018).
14.Packer, C, Simpson, S, Terezinha de Almeida, R. EuroScan International Network Member Agencies: Their structure, processes and outputs. Int J Technol Assess Health Care. 2015;31:7885.
15.Lepage-Nefkens, I, Douw, K, Mantjes, G, et al. Horizon scanning for pharmaceuticals. Proposal for the BeNeLuxA collaboration. Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre (KCE), 2017: 20. (accessed March 7, 2018).
16.Eriksson, I, Wettermark, B, Persson, M, et al. The early awareness and alert system in Sweden: History and current status. Front Pharmacol. 2017;8:674. doi:10.3389/fphar.2017.00674.
17.Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH, 2017). The use of proton beam therapy in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia: An environmental scan of funding, referrals, and future planning (environmental scan; no. 59). (accessed March 14, 2018).
18.The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia. Workforce Support. Impact of the renewed NCSP on the pathology workforce. (accessed March 14, 2018).
19.Joppi, R. International experiences of horizon scanning: An introduction to early awareness and alert systems. Presentation. EuroScan Workshop. HTAi Annual Meeting, 18 June 2017. Referring to Packer C, Simpson S, Terezinha de Almeida R. EuroScan International Network Member Agencies: Their structure, processes and outputs. Int J Technol Assess Health Care. 2015;31:7885.


Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Oortwijn et al. supplementary material
Oortwijn et al. supplementary material 1

 Unknown (14 KB)
14 KB


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed