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Novel health technologies are being developed at a dizzying pace. The need to avoid unnecessary innovations and accelerate the adoption of valuable innovations is among the most important challenges facing healthcare systems today. To contribute to this challenge, we performed 30 so-called ‘early health technology assessments’ (HTA) over the last three years. We quantified the potential value, both in effects and cost. We will present our experience with performing these constructive assessments, as well as their feasibility and value in informing decisions.
We performed secondary analyses on an existing database of 30 assessments. We analyzed the phase of development, stakeholders involved, type of decision informed, and the technology's next steps.
Out of the 30 technologies, four (13 percent) were in the idea screening phase, and had not yet started the development. Here, the room for improvement (headroom) was assessed. For 16 (53 percent) technologies that were under development but not yet studied, we performed headroom and threshold analyses. For the 10 (33 percent) developed technologies where some (pilot) data were already available, scenario and/or cost-effectiveness analyses were performed. The assessments, that were commissioned by developers, clinicians or hospital managers informed evidence-based decisions on (further) development, focus, research design or adoption in clinical practice. Preliminary results suggest that after the assessment, decisions were made to stop further development (n=2), continue outside healthcare (n=1), change the target population (n=3) or change the proposed positioning in the care pathway and/or value proposition (n=4).
Stakeholders deemed an early, formative assessment useful in informing development, research and adoption decisions, in different stages of development. Even before developing a technology, headroom analyses appeared to be feasible and useful. Consequences of the assessments mostly related to a shift in focus, which may result in more efficient research and development, as well as more valuable innovations.
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