Objectives: In the past decade, there has been a growing interest in health technology disinvestment. A disinvestment process should involve all relevant stakeholders to identify and deliver the most effective, safe, and cost-effective healthcare interventions. The aim of the present study was to describe the state of the art of health technology disinvestment around the world and to identify parameters that could be associated with the implementation of disinvestment programs.
Methods: A systematic review of the literature was performed from database inception to November 2014, together with the collection of original data on socio-economic indicators from forty countries.
Results: Overall, 1,456 records (1,199 from electronic databases and 257 from other sources) were initially retrieved. After analyzing 172 full text articles, 38 papers describing fifteen disinvestment programs/experiences in eight countries were included. The majority (12/15) of disinvestment programs began after 2006. As expected, these programs were more common in developed countries, 63 percent of which had a Beveridge model healthcare system. The univariate analysis showed that countries with disinvestment programs had a significantly higher level of Human Development Index, Gross Domestic Product per capita, public expenditure on health and social services, life expectancy at birth and a lower level of infant mortality rate, and of perceived corruption. The existence of HTA agencies in the country was a strong predictor (p = .034) for the development of disinvestment programs.
Conclusions: The most significant variables in the univariate analysis were connected by a common factor, potentially related to the overall development stage of the country.