The main studies used in ATS are:
- Systematic reviews and meta-analysis
used to gather in an organized existing scientific studies on a new treatment.
- Economic studies
mainly represented by the cost-effectiveness studies, are used to define the best way to employ the resources of a health system to obtain the greatest benefit for the population.
- Clinical trials
studies comparing the effectiveness of one or more technologies directly to patients under controlled conditions.
- Observational studies
used to evaluate the performance of health care in the real world, outside of controlled conditions.
Stages of Technology Assessment in Health:
- STEP 1
Patients and healthcare professionals require new solutions to a particular health problem. When a new technology comes out patients want it to be soon available in the health system
- STEP 2
THE NEW TREATMENT IS SAFE AND EFFECTIVE?
To answer this question the HTA, primarily draws on existing research on the safety and performance of a new technology.
- STEP 3
THE NEW TECHNOLOGY IS COST-EFFECTIVE COMPARED TO OTHER OPTIONS AVAILABLE?
Once proven the safety and efficacy of a new technology, the HTA, then, depart for the economic evaluation. This step is developing the cost-effectiveness studies, which indicate that the capital invested in new technology provides much benefit to the health or more than other options for the same illness. If the cost-effectiveness in favor of new technology, it will be necessary to determine its impact on the budget in case of implementation.
- STEP 4
HEALTH MANAGER DECISION- MAKING
At this stage the manager of the health system should opt for financing and incorporation of new a technology or not. This should be decided by considering various factors such as:
• The demand of society;
• The economic and budget;
• Political factors;
• Studies of HTA.
- STEP 5
USE OF NEW TECHNOLOGY BY THE PUBLIC HEALTH
If the HTA studies have been favorable, the health manager has the final decision to implement the new technology, based on local realities and needs of specific population. The treatment, then, will be funded and available in the health system and patients may have a new option considered safe, effective and economically sustainable.