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Health Technology Assessment: What would you like to see assessed?

The NHS HTA Programme aims to ensure that high quality research information on costs, effectiveness and broader impact of health technologies is produced in the most economical way for those who use, manage and work in the Health Service. Health technologies are defined very broadly as:
  • all methods used by health professionals to promote health, diagnose, prevent and treat disease, and improve rehabilitation and long term care.
  • Health technology assessment is defined more tightly to include the following features:
  • the health technology under assessment should be clearly defined, sufficiently stable, and able to be compared with competing health technologies and/or no intervention;
  • evaluating new applications of existing health technologies is part of HTA, but work aiming to develop new applications of health technologies would not normally be included;
  • the end-point of the assessment should be the identification of patient outcomes and/or the relative cost-effectiveness of alternative means;
  • work aimed solely at auditing established good practice or current practice would not normally fall under the definition of HTA.
The HTA programme is now starting its identification of priorities for 1998. We are asking for suggestions of health technologies you would like to see assessed. These suggestions will be considered by the programme's six expert panels who advise on acute care, population screening, primary and community care, diagnostics and imaging, pharmaceuticals and the methodology of health technology assessment. The Standing Group for Health Technology will take the final decision on the most important 40 or 50 priorities in which research will be commissioned. Suggestions previously prioritised by the programme include:
  • Management of venous leg ulcers in the community
  • Management of irritable bowel syndrome in primary care
  • Long term follow up following psychotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy
  • Acupuncture for the management of pain in primary care
  • Day care services for the severely mentally ill
  • Outreach ophthalmology clinics in general practice
  • The use of acute diagnostic ultrasound in general practice
  • Community support teams for people with learning disabilities and challenging behaviour
  • SSRI anti-depressants in comparison to tricyclics
  • Treatments for eczema
  • Different treatments for severe psoriasis
If you would like to make a suggestion, please visit our web site on ....or alternatively write to NCCHTA, Highcroft, Romsey Road, Winchester, SO22 SDH requesting an 'identification pack'.

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