Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Tools to help health professionals make better technological choices

EU-funded researchers have created tools to promote cutting-edge health technology and ensure that hospitals have the means to select only the best.
Tools to help health professionals make better technological choices
A new database along with a handbook and toolkit covering Hospital-Based Health Technology Assessments (HB-HTAs) will help health professionals manage new technological innovations better, increasing operational efficiencies and ultimately benefiting patients.

These tools, pioneered by the EU-funded ADHOPHTA project, are designed to ensure that only technologies with added value for hospitals will be invested in, freeing up resources to ensure optimal quality of care.

‘The key for managers is to be able to choose health technologies based on comprehensive and contextualised assessments that are tailored to the needs of each hospital,’ explains project coordinator Dr Laura Sampietro-Colom from the Fundacio Privada Clinic per a la Recerca Biomedica, Spain.

‘The tools that we have developed are addressed to helping these decision-makers manage their technology requirements better, ensuring that hospitals invest only in the most useful innovations. We have already received a lot of interest from potential users, with requests to translate the tools into other languages.’

The handbook includes principles for good practices, and an accompanying toolkit provides guidance on how to implement these. Both the handbook and toolkit were validated by an international expert panel, representing experts from ten countries on four continents.

The project began with a literature search on informational needs and decision making processes for the adoption of technology in hospitals, followed by the development of an open questionnaire. The results were then used to design a large-scale, web-based survey sent to 339 hospital and clinical managers.

Case studies were then performed to characterise the decision-making process for adopting different types of health technologies, including medical devices, medical equipment, drugs and procedures. In parallel, a business health care excellence model was selected and adapted to HB-HTA in order to build a framework for principles that should govern good practices.

Prior to the three year ADHOPHTA project, which was completed at the end of November 2015, there was no consolidated body of knowledge on HB-HTAs. Information had previously been scattered, and in any case based only on informal interactions among HB HTA units around the world. This project has therefore addressed a need articulated by healthcare professionals for tools to make the selection and management of health technologies more streamlined.

Ahead of their finalisation, a workshop brought together experts from hospital management, hospital-based and national HTA, patient representation and industry. Furthermore, access to the online HB-HTA database is now available, which project partners hope will be widely used and indeed added to by health professionals, following the project’s completion.

‘We would now like to pursue further research in gap areas that the ADHOPHTA project enabled us to identify,’ says Samprietro-Colom. ‘To this end we are exploring available funding at the EU level, but the most immediate step has been to make the database available online, in order to allow hospitals across the world performing HB-HTA to include information about their assessments.’

For further information please visit:
ADHOPHTA project website

Source: Based on an interview with the project coordinator.

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