Bridging Research and Decision-Making in Healthcare
Health technology assessment, or HTA, is a field of research that helps people weigh the promise, cost and effectiveness of new medicines and medical technologies.
Canada’s federal and provincial healthcare agencies use HTAs routinely. But HTAs have not typically included patient perspectives, social values, innovation and employment perspectives, or organizational factors. As Canada Research Chair in Health Technology Assessment, Dr. Murray Krahn is figuring out how to incorporate these factors into traditional HTA models.
Krahn and his research team are evaluating the effectiveness, safety, acceptability and cost of medical devices, services and drugs. By integrating health modelling, qualitative research and health services research, they are developing a new model of health technology assessment.
Using two clinically relevant health policy problems as test cases—kidney dialysis and a non-invasive heart device—Krahn and his team are developing the first “SMART” HTA: System Management through the Assessment and Reassessment of Technology. This next-generation HTA adds new elements to each assessment, such as the technology life cycle, its complexity from a user-centred point of view, and its purpose and fit within a person’s pathway of care.
With this novel approach, Krahn’s research offers direct benefits to patients and health care systems. It is also helping to integrate health policy with broad organizational and social value concerns and instilling deeper patient perspectives in each evaluation.