Appropriate involvement of stakeholders is one of the founding principles of the European Cooperation on Health Technology Assessment. The European Network for Health Technology Assessment (EUnetHTA) produces Rapid Relative Effectiveness Assessments (REAs) to assess pharmaceutical (PT) or other technologies (OT). Stakeholders essentially participate in the scoping, the draft assessment phase, or both.
All REAs published since 2013 were reviewed. Stakeholder participation in scoping (project plan) and draft assessment was evaluated. We aggregated categories of stakeholders in four groups (Health Care Providers and Academia, Patients and Consumers, Manufacturers, and Regulators and Payers). Means of collaboration (meetings, comments to project plan and draft assessment, questionnaires, focus groups) are also analyzed. Data is continuously updated with new REAs.
More than 20 REAs have been published at the moment, with a higher number of OT. Health Care Providers and Academia acted as experts in both phases, participating in all REA of OT, and less of PT. Manufacturers participated in all REA in the scoping phase. Regulators and Payers, less involved, participated mainly in the scoping phase. The main methods are providing comments in a standardized form and meetings. Patients' contribution, similar in OT and PT, has increased over the years. Questionnaires or interviews were the main method of involvement, followed by participation in meetings and focus groups. Visibility and transparency have also improved, with a clearer reporting of the stakeholder contribution in the last assessments.
The stakeholder involvement in EUnetHTA REAs is steadily growing, with the different nature of stakeholders’ categories reflected in their contribution to the assessments. EUnetHTA is standardizing stakeholder involvement procedures taking into account the particularities of each group when generating guidance for stakeholder involvement.