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The aim of this study was to develop a feasible and effective strategy to involve patients in the Spanish Network of Agencies of Health Technology Assessment (RedETS).
The framework for patient involvement (PI) in the assessment activities and processes of RedETS were developed through a research project that included: (i) a systematic search of the international literature describing a strategy and/or a methodology linking health technology assessment (HTA) and PI; (ii) a qualitative study through interviews with RedETS members to analyze the perceptions of PI among HTA managers in the Spanish context; (iii) a Delphi consultation with three large platforms of patients, carers and consumer organizations in Spain about their perspectives of PI; (iv) a consensus process with the members of the RedETS Governing Council to define the final strategy.
Three main themes were identified in the literature and Web site review: (i) PI methods for the different HTA phases; (ii) Participant definition and selection; (iii) Resources needed. A three-step implementation strategy was proposed: (i) short-term actions: piloting and testing patient participation in HTA and building patients' capacity; (ii) medium-term actions: broadening the participation of patients, and building internal capacity; (iii) long-term actions: consolidating and mainstreaming patient involvement
Patient participation can be incorporated into almost all the HTA phases and products with greater or lesser degrees of difficulty. However, a progressive implementation strategy is suggested for a feasible PI process.
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