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European Network for Health Technology Assessment [EUnetHTA] [2005110] - Project
General objectives

The general objective of this proposal is to establish an effective and sustainable European Network for Health Technology Assessment – EUnetHTA that informs policy decisions. The overall strategic objective of the network is to connect public national health technology assessment (HTA) agencies, research institutions and health ministries, enabling an effective exchange of information and support to policy decisions by Member States. This implies that the network will help to provide reliable, timely, transparent and transferable information on the short- and long-term effectiveness of health technologies as input to decision-making in member states and in the EU. By doing this, the Network will assist the EU and its member states and the candidate countries to plan, deliver and monitor health services effectively. For this purpose the network will provide tools for tailoring this information. Sound clinical, epidemiological, organisational and economic evidence and information on patients’ needs and preferences are necessary to inform health policy decisions, combined with local, regional and national considerations on resources, societal values, ethics and priorities. The strategic objectives are: * To reduce overlap and duplication of effort and hence promote more effective use of resources * To increase HTA input to decision-making in member states and the EU and hence to increase the impact of HTA * To strengthen the link between HTA and health care policy making in the EU and its member states * To support countries with limited experience with HTA. This could potentially contribute to tackling variations in health and health inequalities in Europe, and ensure citizens greater equity of access, and more consistent care within and between European member countries – and increase the effective use of resources spent on health care in member states.

Strategic relevance and contribution to the public health programme

Health information strand. Co-operation between Member States. To establish an effective and sustainable European network for health technology assessment (HTA). The network (EUnetHTA) to develop and implement tools to provide reliable, timely, transparent and transferable information on the effectiveness of health technologies as input to decision-making in Member States and in the EU. By doing this, the aim of this Network is to assist the EU and its member states and the candidate countries to plan, deliver and monitor health services effectively whilst recognising the need to consider national cultural, social, economic and ethical issues in individual Member States. Furthermore, the network is to be responsive to improve input to policy and support countries developing HTA systems. The network involves 60 partners and 24 EU Member States including international organisations working with informing health policy.

Methods and means

European collaboration – not least the extensive work done in the EU supported projects, EUR-ASSESS and ECHTA/ECAHI has resulted in common internationally accepted and used HTA methodology. The basis of this is the systematic, rigorous and multidisciplinary analysis of the implications of using health technology. However, HTA is not defined by the use of specific methods, but by its intent – to provide input to decision making in policy and practice. This project’s main objective is to establish an effective and sustainable European Network for HTA. As described in P.4.1. this entails both the establishment of an organisational framework and the development of the practical tools to fit into this framework. This project builds on and benefit from the elaborate methodological work undertaken in previous projects. Now the results and recommendations from the HTA Europe, the EUR –ASSESS and the ECHTA/ECAHI project to be put into concrete action. There is a definite need to bring existing knowledge into use at a European level, and only a limited need for more research on methodology. Therefore this project deals not so much with the methods used in HTA, but with the raison d’être of HTA – effectively bringing knowledge on the implications of using health technologies into policy and planning. This calls for organisational structures to ensure effective operating procedures, coordination and information sharing among partners, member states and the EU. It also calls for practical tools to improve responsiveness of HTA to the demands of the HTA consumers, tools to provide the relevant and applicable information and tools to ensure effective uptake into policy and planning. The specific methods and tools of this project include organisation of the internal coordinating meetings within separate work packages involving project partners, seminars and (training) workshops between the work packages, a EUnetHTA Forum involving project partners and representatives of relevant stakeholder groups (to ensure transparency and early involvement of relevant parties in the development process), and a conference at the end of the project presenting the project results to the stakeholder groups, Ministries of Health (MoH) and relevant EU bodies. Each work package to develop its own mode of effective operation in relation to its subject matter that would include surveys, consensus conferences, handbooks and development of special publications. To ensure transparency and continuity of the EUnetHTA work a special web based information platform to be developed with several levels of communication interoperability providing easy access to information by the project members and outside parties. The project meetings to be held at different locations to ensure fair and effective distribution of responsibilities between various project partners.

Expected outcomes period

Work package 1: Coordination of the project; Work package 2: EUnetHTA Communications; Work package 3: Evaluation of the project; Work package 4: Common Core HTA; Work package 5: Adapting existing HTAs from one country to other settings; Work package 6: : Transferability to health policy; Work package 7: Monitoring development for emerging/new technologies and prioritisation of HTAs; Work package 8: Systems to support HTA in Member States with limited institualisation of HTA activities

Details
Start date: 01/01/2006
End date: 01/01/2009
Duration: 36 month(s)
Current status: Finalised
Programme title: First Programme of Community action in the field of public health (2003-2008)
EC Contribution: € 1 620 000,00