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Damage to the central nervous system (CNS) in adulthood, may lead to cognitive impairments. In Germany, occupational therapy is most often prescribed for neurological diagnoses, including stroke and traumatic brain injury (351 and 343 cases per 100,000, respectively in 2018). For cognitive impairments, the primarily prescribed remedies are sensorimotor-perceptive, motor-functional and neuropsychologically oriented treatment or training of cognitive performance. Here we report the results of a health technology assessment (HTA) report on the clinical efficacy of occupational therapy for patients with cognitive impairments.
To assess clinical efficacy, a systematic overview was conducted based on published systematic reviews and HTA reports from the last ten years summarizing randomized controlled trials (RCTs) retrieved from four bibliographic databases. The target population included adult patients with cognitive impairments caused by diseases of the CNS, excluding moderate to severe dementia. The intervention studied is occupational therapy compared to no occupational therapy. Outcomes were cognitive abilities, independence, self-determination, health-related quality of life (QoL), and participation in activities of daily living (ADL).
Five systematic reviews comprising 1,316 patients were included. There is evidence for a small statistically significant positive effect on “general cognitive function” (10 RCTs, n=470) and on ADL (4 RCTs, n= 405). A non-quantified positive effect was reported on behavior control (1 RCT, n=96), and conflicting evidence on QoL (2 RCTs, n=214). No effect was found for individual components of cognition (5 RCTs, n=202), self-efficacy (1 RCT, n=98) and social participation (2 RCTs, n=194). The level of the evidence was low for all endpoints due to the high risk of bias and small sample sizes.
Based on this systematic overview, it cannot be demonstrated but also not ruled out that occupational therapy for cognitive impairment is an effective therapy for adults with cognitive impairments. The evidence is very uncertain due to small effects and high risk of bias, low statistical power, and heterogeneity of interventions and study populations.
In order to facilitate patient information, patient involvement, and to support patient-centered care, healthcare organizations are increasingly offering access to patient data that are stored in the institution-specific electronic health record (EHR). Patients can access these data, read, and print them, or download and integrate them into any type of patient-held record. This EHR access is typically web-based and called “patient portal” allowing the independent access via the Internet from everywhere. A patient portal may also offer additional features such as prescription requests, appointment booking, messaging, personal health-related reminders, individual therapeutic recommendations, personal diaries, and social networking with other patients. In a Cochrane review, we assessed the effects of providing access to EHR for adult patients on patient empowerment and health-related outcomes compared to usual care.
According to the methods of evidence-based medicine, we developed a protocol for a Cochrane review, which is published in the Cochrane database.
We identified ten randomized controlled trials (RCTs) including 6,668 randomized participants. Seven RCTs took place in the USA, two in Canada, and one in Japan. Additional functionalities of interventions and disease conditions were heterogeneous. Three studies (n = 601) reported on patient empowerment. The risk differences reported were neither statistically significant nor clinically relevant. Eight studies (n = 2,070) reported on nine different risk factors (blood pressure, blood glucose, poor asthma control, 10-year Framingham risk score, cholesterol, body mass index, composite score of eight variables, intraocular pressure, composite score of three variables). The results were heterogeneous. Mostly there were no statistically significant risk differences between study groups.
Overall, there is no evidence for a clear positive effect of patient portals on patient empowerment and health related outcomes (mainly risk factors). However, we identified only a small number of studies. The usage of portals was often low and several studies were older.
In Europe, the new Medical Device Regulation (MDR) and In Vitro Diagnostics Regulation (IVDR) that entered into force 2017 will have to be applied until 2020 and 2022, respectively. Under the old regulation, there was a large gap between evidence requirements for market approval and market access for high risk (class IIb and III) medical devices (MD). The MDR/IVDR will require appropriate clinical investigations for these MD classes. Despite the different purpose of market approval and surveillance and reimbursement decisions, there are possible synergies with regard to evidence generation, for example, design of pivotal trials and post-launch evidence generation with observational data. In the MDR, early scientific advice can be provided by expert panels of the European Commission if requested by MD developers. For medicinal products, the European network for Health Technology Assessment (EUnetHTA) has established joint early dialogs (JED) of HTA agencies with the European Medicines Agency and manufacturers. A similar approach might be possible with the Medical Device Coordination Group (MDCG). The objective was to explore possible synergies for JED with the MDCG and EUnetHTA.
In 2018, EUnetHTA established a task force for HTA and MDR/IVDR. A workshop, which will explore possible synergies and activities on JED as well as the viewpoints of stakeholders will be held in May 2019. Participants will be Directorate-Generals GROW (Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SME) and SANTE (Health and Food Safety), EUnetHTA members assessing MD, representatives of national competent authorities, Team Notified Bodies, MedTech Europe, patient representatives and academia.
A report on the presentations, the results of the discussion, and next steps in a possible collaboration will be presented.
Joint early scientific advice to manufacturers on the European level for evidence generation by HTA agencies and the MDCG has the potential to streamline evidence generation in the life cycle of high risk MD.
The HTA Core Model (HTACM) of EUnetHTA and the INTEGRATE-HTA Model (IHTAM) both provide HTA experts with advanced guidance on how to assess health technologies. In this study, we examine the similarities and differences of the two models, identifying synergies and opportunities for future collaboration. We also consider how such an alignment of the HTACM and IHTAM might be done in practice and present some alternative practical approaches. Overall the two models share several similarities, primarily the perception of HTA as a multidisciplinary analysis that needs to be adjusted according to the properties of the technology under assessment.
Objectives: External experts can be consulted at different stages of an HTA. When using vague information sources, it is particularly important to plan, analyze, and report the information processing in a standardized and transparent way. Our objective was to search and analyze recommendations regarding where and how to include expert data in HTA.
Methods: We performed a systematic database search and screened the Internet pages of seventy-seven HTA organizations for guidelines, recommendations, and methods papers that address the inclusion of experts in HTA. Relevant documents were downloaded, and information was extracted in a standard form. Results were merged in tables and narrative evidence synthesis.
Results: From twenty-two HTA organizations, we included forty-two documents that consider the use of expert opinion in HTA. Nearly all documents mention experts in the step of preparation of the evidence report. Six documents address their role for priority setting of topics, fifteen for scoping, twelve for the appraisal of evidence and results, another twelve documents mention experts when considering the dissemination of HTA results.
During the assessment step, experts are most often asked to amend the literature search or to provide expertise for special data analyses. Another issue for external experts is to appraise the HTA results and refer them back to a clinical and social context. Little is reported on methods of expert elicitation when their input substitutes study data.
Conclusions: Despite existing recommendations on the use of expert opinion in HTA, common standards for elicitation are scarce in HTA guidelines.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to compare the predictive value, clinical effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP)-screening in addition to traditional risk factor screening in apparently healthy persons as a means of preventing coronary artery disease.
Methods and Results: The systematic review was performed according to internationally recognized methods. Seven studies on risk prediction, one clinical decision-analytic modeling study, and three decision-analytic cost-effectiveness studies were included. The adjusted relative risk of high hs-CRP-level ranged from 0.7 to 2.47 (p < .05 in four of seven studies). Adding hs-CRP to the prediction models increased the areas under the curve by 0.00 to 0.027. Based on the clinical decision analysis, both individuals with elevated hs-CRP-levels and those with hyperlipidemia have a similar gain in life expectancy following statin therapy. One high-quality economic modeling study suggests favorable incremental cost-effectiveness ratios for persons with elevated hs-CRP and higher risk. However, many model parameters were based on limited evidence.
Conclusions: Adding hs-CRP to traditional risk factors improves risk prediction, but the clinical relevance and cost-effectiveness of this improvement remain unclear.
Objectives: Progression-free survival (PFS) has not been validated as a surrogate endpoint for overall survival (OS) for anthracycline (A) and taxane-based (T) chemotherapy in advanced breast cancer (ABC). Using trial-level, meta-analytic approaches, we evaluated PFS as a surrogate endpoint.
Methods: A literature review identified randomized, controlled A and T trials for ABC. Progression-based endpoints were classified by prospective definitions. Treatment effects were derived as hazard ratios for PFS (HRPFS) and OS (HROS). Kappa statistic assessed overall agreement. A fixed-effects regression model was used to predict HROS from observed HRPFS. Cross-validation was performed. Sensitivity and subgroup analyses were performed for PFS definition, year of last patient recruitment, line of treatment, and constant rate assumption.
Results: Sixteen A and fifteen T trials met inclusion criteria, producing seventeen A (n = 4,323) and seventeen T (n = 5,893) trial-arm pairs. Agreement (kappa statistic) between the direction of HROS and HRPFS was 0.71 for A (p = .0029) and 0.75 for T (p = .0028). While HRPFS was a statistically significant predictor of HROS for both A (p = .0019) and T (p = .012), the explained variances were 0.49 (A) and 0.35 (T). In cross-validation, 97 percent of the 95 percent prediction intervals crossed the equivalence line, and the direction of predicted HROS agreed with observed HROS in 82 percent (A) and 76 percent (T). Results were robust in sensitivity and subgroup analyses.
Conclusions: This meta-analysis suggests that the trial-level treatment effect on PFS is significantly associated with the trial-level treatment effect on OS. However, prediction of OS based on PFS is surrounded with uncertainty.
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