Objectives: New medical technologies have been identified as the leading cause of increasing health-care expenditures. Adoption of a new technology is one of the most important decisions in medical centers. The objectives of this study were to map and describe the function of hospital decision-makers within the area of new technology assessment and adoption, and to examine relevant considerations, sources of information, and decision-making processes in the adoption of a new technology.
Methods: A questionnaire was mailed to hospital executives and referred to (i) the considerations for and against adoption of a new technology, (ii) the decision-making process, (iii) information sources used in the decision-making process.
Results: The most frequent criteria favoring adoption included increased cost-effectiveness, increased efficacy, and decrease in complication rates. An increase in complication rates or side effects and decreased efficacy were the top ranked criteria against adoption. The final decision-making responsibility varied among technologies; the medical director frequently made the final decision when a new device was involved, but this responsibility decreased when a new drug or a new procedure was considered. Participation in scientific meetings, opinions of local experts, medical journals, and Food and Drug Administration clearance documents were the most important information sources used in the decision-making process. However, these were not necessarily the optimal sources of information. Significant barriers in adoption decision-making are lack of timely data regarding the safety of the new technology, its cost-effectiveness, and efficacy.
Conclusion: To improve the adoption decisions, hospitals must develop criteria upon which the decision-making will be based.