Objectives: The EUR-ASSESS project was undertaken by a large
number of members of European health technology assessment (HTA) agencies and
programs with the aim of improving coordination through developments in
several areas of HTA. At the conclusion of the project, an independent survey
was undertaken to reassess the importance of the original objectives of
EUR-ASSESS and determine the impact of the project on the way HTA activities
are organized and carried out in Europe.
Methods: A postal questionnaire survey and a series of more
in-depth personal interviews.
Results: EUR-ASSESS was generally considered successful in
achieving its aims, particularly in creating an informal network of people and
organizations, improving the understanding of the work of others, improving
the ability to focus the objectives of HTA, facilitating the sharing of
experience and mutual learning opportunities, exchanging ideas on research
agendas, and developing a common language. However, significant differences
emerged in the expectations of different actors in European HTA, and in their
perceptions of the impact of the project. These reflect the wide diversity of
approaches existing in Europe.
Conclusions: Health technology assessment in Europe is changing
its nature from a set of national or local initiatives with relatively limited
impact to a truly European movement with strong links and coordination between
its individual components. Important lessons can be learned from the
experience of EUR-ASSESS, particularly in the light of an increasing
commitment of the European Commission to play a role in the development of