Objectives: The aim of this study was to review international experiences of patient or public involvement in the field of health technology assessment (HTA).
Methods: A systematic review of the scientific literature was conducted. A literature search was performed across nine databases. Other literature was identified through citation tracking, government websites (HTA agencies), and Internet search engines. Characteristics of the studies, description of the activities related to patient or public involvement, impact of these activities on the HTA process, and factors facilitating or limiting involvement were abstracted independently by two reviewers.
Results: A total of 1,441 potentially relevant papers were identified by the main search strategy. Among these, seventeen papers met the inclusion criteria; other search strategies identified seven additional documents. The findings reveal that patient or public involvement in HTA activities was reported in two domains, research and HTA process. In the research domain, patients are consulted to gather evidence about their perspectives, experiences, or preferences about a health technology. These perspectives could add key dimensions to the evaluation of health technologies that might otherwise be overlooked. In the domain of the HTA process, patients or public representatives participate in different stages of this process: prioritization, evidence assessment, or dissemination of findings.
Conclusions: There are few published examples of experiences involving patients and the public in HTA. These examples show that patients' or the public's perspectives could add important dimensions to the evaluation of health technologies. However, there is a need to develop more systematic approaches to considering patients' and the public's perspectives in HTA.