Published online by Cambridge University Press: 25 September 2001
Objective: To explore the impact of health technology assessment (HTA) on health policy and practice in Greece through selected screening case studies in the prevention area. The three cases studied were mammography screening, PSA screening, and routine ultrasonography in normal pregnancy.
Methods: Official policy recommendations or reports, a literature review of Greek published research as well as gray literature from various sources, and interviews with specialists and medical associations were performed, and their impact on health policy formulation was examined.
Results: The implementation of the screening tests does not take the form of structured mass screening programs. Almost all physicians (urologists-pathologists, gynecologists) apply PSA and routine ultrasonography in normal pregnancy respectively with the purpose of either prevention or diagnosis. Mammography is applied generally for prevention or diagnosis, but there are some mass screening programs at a local level. In addition, the results show no evidence that the efficacy and the cost-effectiveness of the three screening programs have been a matter of serious concern and investigation for the purposes of policy formulation in Greece.
Conclusion: The results point to a need for the implementation of HTA methods on mass screening preventive programs in which real value and cost remain unclear and whose use is based on empirical and personal assessments.