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.
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