As science advances the number of newly developed health technologies increases, but the lifecycles of health technologies becomes shorter. Thus, the importance of horizon scanning systems for identifying promising new health technologies and evaluating their potential impact is increasing. Engaging and collecting opinions from various stakeholders in this search process is very important. The purpose of this study was to develop a strategy for involving various stakeholders in all steps of the horizon scanning system in Korea.
The horizon scanning system consists of five steps: identification, filtration, prioritization, assessment, and dissemination. We identified the stakeholders to be considered at each stage, and examined who would be involved and how. In addition, we planned how to synthesize and apply stakeholder opinions and to test the feasibility of these methods by using them in a horizon scanning system.
In the identification stage, developers, health professionals, and consumers suggested new and emerging health technologies to investigate. In the filtration stage, the person in charge of licensing judged the technologies based on appropriateness, innovativeness, and potential of market entry. In the prioritization phase, experts from eight to ten related fields (clinical, health technology and drugs, policy, methodology, patient organizations, etc.) participated and judged the technologies according to seven criteria (burden of disease, clinical impact, innovativeness, economic impact, acceptability, social impact, and evidence). In the assessment stage, between one and four clinical and methodological experts assessed the potential impact of the selected promising health technologies using seven evaluation items (unmet needs, improved patient health, health equity, change in medical behaviors, acceptability with respect to the patient and clinical condition, change in medical costs, and social, ethical, political, and cultural aspects). Before its dissemination, the final report was delivered to relevant industries for feedback (with particular emphasis on accuracy of data on the technology).
There are many stakeholders in the horizon scanning system for new and emerging health technologies, depending on the healthcare system, policy, environment, etc. This study confirmed that stakeholder opinions on new technologies can vary. In addition, standards of social value judgment may change over time. It is therefore very important for horizon scanning systems to engage various stakeholders, collect their opinions, and make rational scientific decisions.