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The Potential and Challenges of Health Technology Assessment: Insights from Experience in Europe

Prof. Reinhard Busse, Technische Universitat Berlin/ European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies
Josep Figueras, Director, European Observatory on Health Systems

April Harding, Lead Public Private Partnerships Specialist, WBIPP

Thanks to research and innovation, new technologies with the potential to improve the health of populations through more effective care are continuously being introduced. Indeed, health care stands to benefit from the constant developments and technological innovations in the life and health sciences in general, and in medical science in particular. However, not every technological development results in net health gains. The history of medicine and health counts many examples of technologies which did not produce the expected benefits or even proved to be harmful. However, technologies of proven effectiveness - i.e. those associated with relevant health improvements - create a continuous challenge for health systems since their application may require additional (and not only financial) resources or existing (finite) resources to be redistributed within the health system. Health technologies pose similar challenges to healthcare systems throughout the world. Thus, it is necessary to ensure that health technologies are evaluated properly and applied to health care efficaciously. In order to optimize care using the available resources, the most effective technologies should be promoted while taking consideration of organizational, societal and ethical issues. Health technology assessment (HTA) aims to inform health policy and decision-making processes concerning health technologies precisely on these issues. HTA has a strong foundation in research on the health effects and broader implications of the use of technology in health care. Its potential for contributing to safer and more effective health care is widely acknowledged in across developing and developed countries alike, and interest in this field has been growing steadily.

Professor Busse will speak on the role and functioning of health technology assessment (HTA) in European health systems. He will present an overview of where HTA fits in the overall health system. He will discuss how HTA is operationalized (e.g the process and procedural arrangements for conducting assessments across countries and how HTA findings are used to influence the allocation of health funding.

Dr. Josep Figueras will present on the experience of the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies in trying to bring high-quality evidence and knowledge into the policy making domain. The Observatory supports and promotes evidence-based health policy-making through comprehensive and rigorous analysis of the dynamics of health systems in Europe. It is widely regarded as the most effective evidence-to-policy bridging institution. Efforts to emulate their successful approach have recently been launched in other regions.

The World Bank

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 9:00-11:00AM (coffee/tea will be served)

World Bank
Room JB1-075
1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433 USA