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Content archived on 2024-04-16

Diffusion of health care technologies in Europe


The purpose of the study was to investigate the diffusion of medical technologies in each of the twelve member states and Sweden to understand exactly what did happen in the decision making processes. The ultimate intention is that by understanding what does take place in these systems the diffusion of new technologies can be managed better in future.
Research was carried out which investigated the introduction and diffusion of 3 health care technologies across the 12 European Community (EC) member states and Sweden. They were:
diffusion of 4 prenatal screening tests;
diffusion of 2 technologies for renal stone treatment;
diffusion of heart and liver transplantation.

Overall the diffusion of medical technologies is shown to be a process which is far from rational, and one in which the medical profession plays the dominant part. There are signs, though, that in some countries governments and financing bodies are exerting greater control and beginning to request evidence from evaluation. The results of the study should be useful to policy makers and all those concerned with the workings of health care systems in understanding the influences which operate, and how the system is knowingly or unknowingly manipulated by those with particular interests.
This study investigated the introduction and diffusion of three health care technologies across the twelve EC member states and Sweden. They are diffusion of Four Prenatal Screening Tests; Diffusion of Two Technologies for Renal Stone Treatment; and Diffusion of Heart and Liver Transplantation.

For each of the three technologies a coordinator was designated who sought country writers for each of the twelve EC member states and Sweden. The coordinators were then expected to prepare an overview of the country reports summarising the diffusion information, and also drawing out the key themes concerning the influences on the diffusion of that technology.

Finally, the project leader prepared an overall summary looking across all three technologies and all countries.


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King's Fund Centre
EU contribution
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126 Albert Street
NW1 7NF London
United Kingdom

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