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To develop an international template to support patient submissions in Health Technology Assessments (HTAs). This was to be based on the experience and feedback from the implementation and use of the Scottish Medicines Consortium's (SMC) Summary Information for Patient Groups (SIP).
To gather feedback on the SMC experience, web-based surveys were conducted with pharmaceutical companies and patient groups familiar with the SMC SIP. Semistructured interviews with representatives from HTA bodies were undertaken, along with patient group discussions with those less familiar with the SIP, to explore issues around the approach. These qualitative data informed the development of an international SIP template.
Survey data indicated that 82 percent (18 of 22 respondents) of pharmaceutical company representatives felt that the SIP was worthwhile; 88 percent (15/17) of patient group respondents found the SIP helpful. Both groups highlighted the need for additional support and guidance around plain language summaries. Further suggestions included provision of a glossary of terms and cost-effectiveness information. Patient group interviews supported the survey findings and led to the development of a new template. HTA bodies raised potential challenges around buy-in, timing, and bias connected to the SIP approach.
The international SIP template is another approach to support deliberative processes in HTA. Although challenges remain around writing summaries for lay audiences, along with feasibility considerations for HTA bodies, the SIP approach should support more meaningful patient involvement in HTAs.
The Spanish Network of Agencies for Assessing National Health System Technologies and Performance (RedETS) defined a patient involvement (PI) framework for health technology assessment (HTA) activities in 2016. The aim of this study is to evaluate the process and impact of those PI initiatives that were implemented in the first year following the publication of this new framework.
A survey was sent to those HTA researchers who implemented PI in RedETS projects. Responses were reviewed by two authors. An adapted thematic analysis was performed and the results were later discussed by all authors.
Six responses from six agencies/units were analyzed. The objectives of PI initiatives were the following: inclusion of patient perspectives, preferences and values; elicitation of important health outcomes measures; and barriers, facilitators, or suggestions for implementation. Different methods were used for PI: surveys, focus groups, in depth interviews, and participation in an expert panel. Five main themes emerged: (i) challenges with the recruitment process, (ii) needs identified, (iii) impact of PI, (iv) lessons learned, and (v) suggestions for the future.
PI initiatives within the RedETS framework were tailored to each HTA project, its specific goals and the individual needs and resources of each HTA agency. The results also pointed out how PI has a relevant impact that has enriched RedETS products providing key information on experiences, values, and preferences of patients, contributions that benefit the HTA and the process of drawing up recommendations. The main challenges were related to recruitment processes and capacity building.
In December 2017, a patient involvement (PI) Interest Group was created in the Spanish Network of Agencies for Assessing National Health System Technologies and Performance (RedETS) Annual conference. It started as a voluntary group of health technology assessment (HTA) methodologists interested in PI. The objective of the Group is to promote and facilitate PI in HTA. With the support of the Spanish Ministry of Health and the RedETS Council the Interest Group grew to at least one member for each of the eight RedETS regional agencies and units. It currently has 22 members. The PI Interest Group works in periodic online meetings and an annual offline meeting to establish a space for experiences exchange and reach consensus on main issues regarding PI.
RedETS published a strategy to facilitate effective and efficient PI in HTA processes in 2017. The long-term objective is to mainstream PI in all RedETS products. This strategy was built on a literature review and a qualitative study with semi-structured interviews. The interviews detected capacity building needs for technicians and methodologist in the network to be able to actively engage patients in HTA reports.
Since the kick-off meeting the PI Interest Group has worked in a number of activities. The main lines of action since its creation were: (i) evaluation of PI process in RedETS HTA reports in 2017 and in current reports, (ii) discussion on main methodological and procedural aspects, and feasibility of different patient participation approaches, (iii) development of technical protocols and templates to facilitate PI, (iv) the creation/adaptation of educational materials for patients and (v) translation of the HTAi Glossary for patients to Spanish.
Peer-to-peer learning processes can foster technical capacity of HTA methodologist in the Spanish HTA Network and may favor the implementation of the PI strategy.
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