Interests in Health Care Technology Assessment (HCTA) and HCTA training needs in eight European countries: Comett-assess

A. Szczepura, J. Kankaanpää

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Between mid-1991 and mid-1992, nearly 300 different organisations involved in European health care contributed their views to a survey covering a range of topics relevant to health care technology assessment (HCTA) and economic appraisal of health technologies. Organisations who participated included manufacturers, health care institutions, professional associations, health care reimbursement or funding agencies, academic institutions and policy making agencies in eight European countries. The study was carried out as part of a larger project, COMETT-ASSESS, funded partially by the EC COMETT programme, to design and deliver training in health care technology assessment and socioeconomic evaluation. The survey demonstrates a high level of interest in assessment of health care technologies among European organisations, regardless of the type of organisation. Eight out of ten organisations report high-medium levels of interest in using HCTA in their decision making. A similar proportion report high-medium interest in increasing their general understanding of HCTA, and 2 out of 3 in carrying out assessments. All organisations clearly identify a need to train their staff in HCTA. The two key groups of staff requiring training are managers and clinicians. Manufacturers also report a need to train their marketing staff. The principal reason for training is in order to improve the use staff make of HCTA in their decision-making. This finding indicates that it may not be sufficient for European countries to develop effective HCTA dissemination strategies which improve the flow of information on technology assessment results; decision-makers within the organisations targeted will also need training, if they are to use this information effectively. As well as a need to train decision-makers, organisations also report a need to train their researchers, and to a lesser extent their own trainers. When it comes to the types of technologies which need to be assessed, organisations consistently report that they are interested in assessment of accepted health technologies, as well as new or recently introduced ones. In contrast, to date the major emphasis in many HCTA programmes has been on technologies which are yet to enter the service setting. More thought now needs to be given to developing methodologies for assessing technologies once they have reached the service setting. For this the presence of a skilled and well-trained group of health personnel will also be necessary. Provision of high quality, intensive training will offer quite a challenge in terms of identifying the needs of participants (a process which COMETT-ASSESS has initiated), devising suitable workshop materials and case studies, and designing follow-up materials to reinforce this training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1679-1688
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • decision-makers
  • economic appraisal
  • health care technology assessment
  • training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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