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INTEGRATING ETHICS IN HEALTH TECHNOLOGY ASSESSMENT: MANY WAYS TO ROME

  • Björn Hofmann (a1), Wija Oortwijn (a2), Kristin Bakke Lysdahl (a3), Pietro Refolo (a4), Dario Sacchini (a4), Gert Jan van der Wilt (a5) and Ansgar Gerhardus (a6)...

Abstract

Objectives: The aim of this study was to identify and discuss appropriate approaches to integrate ethical inquiry in health technology assessment (HTA).

Methods: The key question is how ethics can be integrated in HTA. This is addressed in two steps: by investigating what it means to integrate ethics in HTA, and by assessing how suitable the various methods in ethics are to be integrated in HTA according to these meanings of integration.

Results: In the first step, we found that integrating ethics can mean that ethics is (a) subsumed under or (b) combined with other parts of the HTA process; that it can be (c) coordinated with other parts; or that (d) ethics actively interacts and changes other parts of the HTA process. For the second step, we found that the various methods in ethics have different merits with respect to the four conceptions of integration in HTA.

Conclusions: Traditional approaches in moral philosophy tend to be most suited to be subsumed or combined, while processual approaches being close to the HTA or implementation process appear to be most suited to coordinated and interactive types of integration. The article provides a guide for choosing the ethics approach that appears most appropriate for the goals and process of a particular HTA.

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