Objectives: Strengthening efforts toward better collaboration plays a pivotal role in the assessment of medical devices to reduce overlap and save resources. This study explored the level of duplication in health technology assessments (HTA) of medical devices in Europe and their respective timing in order to identify areas for better collaboration.
Methods: An analysis of European HTA reports of medical devices regarding overlaps in topics and timing in relation to market authorization was performed. We conducted a systematic search in the ADVANCE, Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, Syngerus, and POP databases, complemented by hand searching, to identify HTA reports published between 01/2003 and 07/2016 for a preselected cohort group of ten technologies. We analyzed the number of annual assessments per technology and evaluated activity patterns and timing in undertaking the HTA of the different institutes in Europe.
Results: The results revealed the amount of duplication in the European HTA production: the number of reports per technology ranged from minimum seven to maximum twenty-two over a time-span of 13.5 years. HTA institutes perform assessments at a similar time range within 5 to 10 years following market authorization. The timing of the initial assessment in relation to the granting of the CE-mark varies according to the particular technology.
Conclusion: The findings suggest that efficient collaboration may help to save scarce resources and time of HTA institutes in Europe. Efficient collaboration as such needs to shift the focus beyond the time span of 1 year, and build on each's others work from previous assessments.