Guidance on the integrated assessment of complex health technologies: the INTEGRATE-HTA model

Wahlster, Philip and Brereton, Louise and Burns, Jake and Hofmann, Bjorn and Mozygemba, Kati and Oortwijn, Wija and Pfadenhauer,, Lisa and Polus, Stephanie and Rehfuess, Eva and Schilling, Imke and van Hoorn,, Ralph and van der Wilt, Gert Jan and Baultessen, Rob and Gerdhardus, Ansgar (2016) Guidance on the integrated assessment of complex health technologies: the INTEGRATE-HTA model. Project Report. INTEGRATE-HTA.

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Guidance on the integrated assessment of complex health technologies-The INTEGRATE-HTA Model.
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Abstract

Challenges in assessments of health technologies
In recent years there have been major advances in the development of health technology assessment (HTA). However, HTA still has certain limitations when assessing technologies which are complex, i.e. consist of several interacting components, target different groups or organizational levels, have multiple and variable outcomes, and/or permit a certain degree of flexibility or tailoring (Craig et al., 2008),
fi are context-dependent - current HTA usually focusses on the technology, not on the system within which it is used,
fi perform differently depending on the way they are implemented,
fi have different effects on different individuals.
Furthermore, HTA usually assesses and appraises aspects side-by-side, while decision-making needs an integrated perspective on the value of a technology. In the EU-funded INTEGRATE-HTA project, we developed concepts and methods to deal with these challenges, which are described in six guidances.
Because of the interactions, an integrated assessment needs to start from the beginning of the assessment. This guidance provides a systematic five-step-process for an integrated assessment of complex technologies (the INTEGRATE-HTA Model).
Purpose and scope of the guidance
The aim of the INTEGRATE-HTA project is to provide concepts and methods that enable a patient-centred, comprehensive, and integrated assessment of complex health technologies. The purpose of this guidance is to structure the overall HTA-process. The INTEGRATE-HTA Model outlines an integrated scoping process, a coordinated application of assessment methods for different aspects and an integrated and structured decision-making process. It is intended for HTA agencies, HTA researchers and those engaged in the evaluation of complex health technologies. As it links the assessment to the decision-making process, it also addresses HTA commissioners and other stakeholders using or planning HTAs.
While all technologies are arguably complex, some are more complex than others. Applying this guidance might lead to a more thorough and therefore more time-consuming process. Depending on the degree of complexity, one might choose to follow the whole process as described in this guidance, or only focus on certain steps. The guidance provides an operational definition to assess the complexity of technologies which can be used to identify specific aspects that will need more attention than others. What the guidance does not provide is a post-hoc solution for assessments that have already been completed.
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Development of the guidance
The INTEGRATE-HTA Model presented in this guidance was developed based on a systematic literature search on approaches for integration, on the experiences of traditional HTAs, as well as on the other methodological guidances developed in the INTEGRATE-HTA project. It was tested in a case study on palliative care and iteratively revised during the practical application. The guidance was again revised after internal and external peer-review.
Application of this guidance
For a comprehensive integrated assessment of a complex technology, we developed a five-step process, the INTEGRATE-HTA model. In Step 1, the HTA objective and the technology are defined with the support from a panel of stakeholders. An initial logic model is developed in Step 2. The initial logic model provides a structured overview of the technology, the context, implementation issues, and relevant patient groups. It then frames the assessment of the effectiveness, as well as economic, ethical, legal, and socio-cultural aspects in Step 3. In Step 4, a graphical overview of the assessment results, structured by the logic model, is provided. Step 5 is a structured decision-making process informed by the HTA (and is thus not formally part of the HTA, but follows it).
fi Step 1: In step 1, the technology under assessment and the objective of the HTA are defined. Especially for complex technologies, such as palliative care, the definition of the technology alone is a challenge that must not be underestimated. It is recommended to do this based on a tentative literature review and with the support of stakeholder advisory panels (SAPs) which should comprise clinical experts, academics, patients, possibly their relatives and/or other caretakers, and the public. The setting of an objective considering all relevant aspects of complexity and structured by assessment criteria is important. The assessment criteria will usually reflect values of the stakeholders as well as the input from the theoretical, methodological and empirical literature.
fi Step 2: In step 2, an initial logic model is developed (see Guidance on the use of logic models in health technology assessments of complex interventions). The model provides a structured overview on participants, interventions, comparators, and outcomes. Parallel to this, groups of patients that are distinguished by different preferences and treatment moderators (see Guidance for the assessment of treatment moderation and patients’ preferences) are identified. Specific context and implementation issues are also identified as part of the initial logic model (see Guidance for the Assessment of Context and Implementation in Health Technology Assessments (HTA) and Systematic Reviews of Complex Interventions). The product of this step is the logic model as a graphical representation of all aspects and their interactions that are relevant for the assessment of the complex technology.
fi Step 3: In step 3, the logic model serves as a conceptual framework that guides the evidence assessment. Depending on the specific aspect (e.g. effectiveness, economic, ethical, socio-cultural, or legal aspects) different methods are available for the assessment (see Guidance for assessing effectiveness, economic aspects, ethical aspects, socio-cultural aspects and legal aspects in complex technologies). The outputs of step 3 are evidence reports and standardized evidence summaries for each assessment aspect (e.g. report on economics, report on ethical aspects, etc.).
fi Step 4: In step 4, the assessment results of step 3 are structured using the logic model developed in step 2. Whereas the initial logic model in step 2 specifies what evidence is relevant, the extended logic model to assist decision-making in step 4 visualizes the assessment results as well as the interaction with respect to the HTA objectives. It also allows for the consideration of different scenarios depending on the variation in context, implementation and patient characteristics.
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fi Step 5: Step 5 involves a structured decision-making process and is not an integral part of the HTA in the narrow sense. Decision-making can be supported by applying quantitative e.g. MCDA- (Multi-criteria decision analysis) or qualitative decision support tools. Flexibility in the application of these tools by the decision committee is crucial, taking different decision settings and evidence needs into consideration.
Conclusions
In current HTA, different aspects are usually assessed and presented independent of each other. Context, implementation issues and patient characteristics are rarely considered. The INTEGRATE-HTA Model enables a coordinated assessment of all these aspects and addresses their interdependencies. The perspective of stakeholders such as patients and professionals with their values and preferences is integrated in the INTEGRATE-HTA Model to obtain HTA results that are meaningful for all relevant stakeholders. Finally, health policy makers obtain an integrated perspective of the assessment results to achieve fair and legitimate conclusions at the end of the HTA process. The application of the model will usually require more time and resources than traditional HTA. An initial assessment of the degree and the character of complexity of a technology might be helpful to decide whether or not the whole process or only specific elements will be applied.

Keywords:Health Technoogy Assessment, Complex Health Technology
Subjects:B Subjects allied to Medicine > B700 Nursing
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Health & Social Care
ID Code:26369
Deposited On:15 Feb 2017 11:05

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