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PP193 How Does HTA Address Social Expectations Now? An International Survey.

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 December 2019

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After surveying its members on ethical issues (2003), the International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) mandated its Ethics Working Group (2005) to reflect on the role of health technology assessment (HTA) organizations in meeting social expectations. Some aspects of these have since been clarified by two studies addressing either the official position of INAHTA's members or the publication authors. An international survey was carried out on the perception of HTA professionals’ expectations when producing HTA reports: how to fulfil HTA's social role, which value judgments should be made explicit and what should be the status of ethical analysis.


A twenty-two question, web-based, anonymous survey was devised from our recent systematic review on the integration of ethics into HTA and carried from April to July 2018. The information on 328 HTA agencies/contact persons from seventy-five countries was collected from the website of INAHTA, Health Technology Assessment International (HTAi), the European Network for Health Technology Assessment (EUnetHTA), EuroScan International Network, the HTA Network of the Americas (RedETSA) and the HTA Network of Asia (HTAsiaLink), a 2015 World Health Organization survey, HTAi members, and our local HTA network (Québec, Canada).


Eighty-nine participants completed and submitted a finalized survey for a 27 percent participation rate representing thirty-three countries. Regarding how the HTA reports should fulfil their social role, our results showed that over 84 percent of the respondents agreed upon the necessity to address it to decision makers, patients and citizens. At a lower and more variable level, the same result was found about the necessity to make value judgements explicit in different sections of the report, including ethical analysis. This contrasts with the variability of responses obtained on the status of ethical analysis although an agreement on the expertise required was observed. Variability in the usefulness of patient, public or stakeholder participation was observed.


At the dawn of this decade, this study reveals high expectations on context-dependent decisions in HTA: the necessity to integrate the ‘explicitation’ of value judgements and systematic ethical analysis to fulfil HTA's social role.

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