Objectives: The aim of this study was to present the development, structure and results of a database on planned and ongoing health technology assessment (HTA) projects (POP Database) in Europe.
Methods: The POP Database (POP DB) was set up in an iterative process from a basic Excel sheet to a multifunctional electronic online database. The functionalities, such as the search terminology, the procedures to fill and update the database, the access rules to enter the database, as well as the maintenance roles, were defined in a multistep participatory feedback loop with EUnetHTA Partners.
Results: The POP Database has become an online database that hosts not only the titles and MeSH categorizations, but also some basic information on status and contact details about the listed projects of EUnetHTA Partners. Currently, it stores more than 1,200 planned, ongoing or recently published projects of forty-three EUnetHTA Partners from twenty-four countries. Because the POP Database aims to facilitate collaboration, it also provides a matching system to assist in identifying similar projects. Overall, more than 10 percent of the projects in the database are identical both in terms of pathology (indication or disease) and technology (drug, medical device, intervention). In addition, approximately 30 percent of the projects are similar, meaning that they have at least some overlap in content.
Conclusions: Although the POP DB is successful concerning regular updates of most national HTA agencies within EUnetHTA, little is known about its actual effects on collaborations in Europe. Moreover, many non-nationally nominated HTA producing agencies neither have access to the POP DB nor can share their projects.