Health Technology Assessment of Medical Devices. (WHO Medical Device Technical Series)
(2011; 44 pages) [Chinese] [French] [Greek] [Spanish]


Health technology assessment (HTA) has emerged as an important tool for supporting the core functions of an effective global health system. Actions by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other global health organizations are necessary to support regional and national initiatives for the advancement of HTA in developing and emerging countries (i.e. nations in the process of rapid growth and industrialization). This document describes an approach for how the multiple players in the global community can come together to advance the knowledge and effective uptake of health technology assessment in local settings.

HTA is the systematic evaluation of properties, effects, and/or impacts of health technology. Its main purpose is to inform technology-related policy-making in health care, and thus improve the uptake of cost-effective new technologies and prevent the uptake of technologies that are of doubtful value for the health system. It is one of three complementary functions to ensure the appropriate introduction and use of health technology. The other two components are regulation, which is concerned with safety and effi cacy, and assessment of all signifi cant intended as well as unintended consequences of technology use; and management, which is concerned with the procurement and maintenance of the technology during its life-cycle. The performance of health systems is strengthened when the linkages and exchange among these elements are clearly differentiated but mutually supportive.

This document integrates health technology assessment into the WHO framework for evidence-informed policy-making. Health systems are strengthened when HTA is integrated into the human and material resources, data, transparent decision- and policy-making, and linked to the overall vision of equity and accountability. Good governance can rely on health technology assessment to provide a policy approach that is accountable for its decisions to the population.

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