Objectives: Evaluation is essential for the management of international projects or networks in health technology assessment (HTA). It extends beyond the normal process of project management by incorporating qualitative dimensions and provides information about a project's effectiveness and achievements. This article aimed to identify the factors that are important for the success of international HTA projects. The European network for Health Technology Assessment Joint Action (EUnetHTA JA) is presented as an exemplar.
Methods: Methods for the evaluation of international HTA projects include interviews, focus groups, questionnaires, observations and documentary review, and the key points of these approaches have been summarized. The impact and effectiveness of the EUnetHTA JA was evaluated by questionnaires of project participants and external stakeholders, and by documentary review.
Results: The response rate for the three annual questionnaires sent to project participants ranged from 86 percent to 88 percent and for external stakeholders ranged from 65 percent to 88 percent. Key factors for project success included production of deliverables according to the workplan, achievement of objectives, added value generated, effective communication, involvement of external stakeholders, workstream management and progress from the preceding EUnetHTA 2006–2008 project.
Conclusions: The experience of this project can inform the evaluation of future international HTA collaborations, such as the EUnetHTA 2nd Joint Action and HTAsiaLink. A high response rate was achieved to the self-completion questionnaires and the strategy followed is recommended for evaluation of international HTA projects. Future assessments of international HTA projects should strive to measure outcomes and impact, not just outputs and process.