Assessing Technologies for COVID-19: What are the Challenges for Health Technology Assessment Agencies? Findings From a Survey and Roundtable Workshop.

Citation:
Elvidge, J., and D. Dawoud, "Assessing Technologies for COVID-19: What are the Challenges for Health Technology Assessment Agencies? Findings From a Survey and Roundtable Workshop.", PharmacoEconomics, vol. 39, issue 12, pp. 1455-1463, 2021.

Abstract:

BACKGROUND: To date, health technology assessment (HTA) agencies have not been at the forefront of decision making regarding the adoption of interventions for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Instead, policymakers have prioritised rapid action in response to the pandemic emergency, with no assessment of value for money. As COVID-19 vaccination coverage increases and healthcare systems begin to recover, HTA agencies will be expected to assess technologies for COVID-19.

OBJECTIVE: We aimed to identify the key challenges when assessing therapeutic and diagnostic technologies for COVID-19, from the perspective of HTA agencies, and identify whether there is a case for novel HTA methods and/or processes to address them.

METHODS: We used a mixed-methods approach, by conducting an online survey of HTA agencies, to collect data about the challenges faced when assessing or planning to assess diagnostic and therapeutic technologies for COVID-19. The online survey was followed by a 'roundtable' workshop of HTA agencies' representatives to discuss the results and to elaborate on their responses.

RESULTS: We received 21 completed surveys (response rate of 45%) and 11 of the respondents joined the roundtable discussion. Five themes emerged from the responses: assessing clinical effectiveness (44%), assessing cost effectiveness (19%), practical (19%), political (11%), and decision making (11%) challenges. At the roundtable, attendees elaborated on the challenges and identified two additional themes: how HTA agencies have responded to the pandemic to date, and how their role might change over time.

CONCLUSION: HTA agencies face both methodological and logistical challenges when assessing or planning to assess technologies for COVID-19. An interim best-practice HTA framework to address the key challenges would be valuable.

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