Objectives: Canada has witnessed expansion of the health technology assessment (HTA) infrastructure in the last 25 years. Local HTA entities at the hospital or regional level are emerging to assist decision makers in the acquisition, implementation, maintenance, and disinvestment of healthcare technologies. There is a need to facilitate collaboration and exchange of expertise and knowledge between these entities regarding the role of local HTA in Canada.
Methods: In November 2013, the pan-Canadian Collaborative hosted a symposium, Hospital/Regional HTA: Local Evidence-based Decisions for Health Care Sustainability, bringing together over 60 HTA producers, researchers, stakeholders, and manufacturers involved in local HTA across Canada. The objective was to showcase the diversity of local HTA in Canada, while highlighting common gaps to be addressed.
Results: The Symposium focused on current practices in local HTA in Canada to support informed decision making, and opportunities for information sharing and provide equal access to timely evidence-based information to decision makers. The main themes included assessment of evidence for local HTA, contextualization, stakeholder engagement in local HTA, knowledge translation and impact of recommendations, and challenges and opportunities for local HTA.
Conclusions: Local HTA in Canada complements HTAs conducted at the provincial and federal levels to improve the efficient and effective health service delivery in institutions or regions faced with limited resources. Some challenges faced by local HTA producers to influence hospital policies and clinical practice involve the engagement of healthcare professionals and potential lack of training and support necessary for the introduction of a new technology.