Health technology assessment

The goal of HTA is to support health care decisions and to serve policy making through objective information.

HTA is a multi-disciplinary field of policy analysis that examines the long-term effects of any existing or new health care technology.

The goal of HTA is to support health care decisions and to serve policy making through objective information.

This includes:

  • Drugs,
  • Medical devices,
  • Procedures,
  • Organisational systems used in health care.



HTA also evaluates the medical, economic social, ethical, and legal implications of these interventions as well as playing an important role in determining reimbursement decisions. For example, HTA can be used to analyse the cost relative to the benefit of medicines in order to determine prices and reimbursement policy of orphan drugs.

This is something that has long been crucial to many rare disease patient advocates.

So what evidence can patients provide?

HTA is an ‘evidence-based’ process. Patients have something to say about all aspects of HTA. However the most important contribution they can make is a description of the benefits or unwanted effects of a healthcare technology.

It is not easy to understand how to put these important views, needs and preferences into a form of evidence that can be used by HTA institutions. That is why it is so important for patients to understand HTA and be involved in its assessment.

HTA and EURORDIS Summer School

HTA was the focus theme at the EURORDIS Summer School in September 2010. More than 30 patient representatives were introduced to the main HTA assessment tools by academics, HTA agency and industry representatives, and public health experts. In addition, patient representatives had an opportunity to present their HTA experiences in a panel discussion.


EUnetHTA is an EU initiative to improve coordination and harmonise the assessment tools used by the main HTA agencies in Europe. EURORDIS is one of four patient representatives at the EUnetHTA Stakeholders Forum.

Page created: 13/03/2012
Page last updated: 04/12/2013
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