Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore the needs and requirements of decision makers in our regional healthcare system for health technology assessment (HTA) products to support portfolio development planning for a new HTA agency in Madrid, Spain.
Methods: A Delphi study was conducted during 2003. Questionnaires were developed based on a review of products and services offered by other agency members of the International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessment, and included preference and prioritization questions to evaluate twenty-two different products and services. The initial Delphi panel involved eighty-seven experts from twenty-one public hospitals, eleven primary healthcare centers, six private hospitals, and eight departments of the Regional Ministry of Health of the Community of Madrid.
Results: The global participation rate was 83.9 percent. Ten of the twenty-two possible products were rated of high interest by more than 80 percent of respondents. Important differences in preferences and priorities were detected across different settings. Public hospitals and primary healthcare centers shared a more “micro” perspective, preferring classic technology-centered HTA products, whereas private hospitals and Ministry representatives demanded more “macro” products and services such as organizational model and information system assessments.
Conclusions: The high participation rate supports the representativeness of the results for our regional context. The strategic development of an HTA portfolio based on decision makers’ needs and requirements as identified in this type of exercise should help achieve a better impact on policy development and decision making.