Strengthening and implementing health technology assessment and the decision-making process in the Region of the Americas
Objective. Health technology assessment (HTA) has been adopted by countries in order to improve allocative efficiency in their health systems. This study aimed to describe and analyze the HTA decision-making process in the Region of the Americas. Methods. A literature review was done to better understand the HTA situation in the Region. Also, in 2014 and 2015, individuals responsible for conducting HTA in countries of the Americas were identified and received a questionnaire on HTA and the decision-making process. Results. A total of 46 questionnaire responses were obtained, from 30 countries. The respondents were similar in terms of their institutions, main funding sources, and technology types assessed. Of the 46 respondents, 23 (50%) work for their respective ministry of health. Also, 36 (78%) undertake and/or coordinate HTA through coverage and reimbursement/pricing decisions and other HTA-related activities, while 24 (52%) use HTA for emerging technologies. While some countries in the Region have created formal HTA units, there is a weak link between the HTA process and decision-making. Most of the countries with recognized HTA institutions are members of the Health Technology Assessment Network of the Americas (RedETSA). Despite the advances in the Region overall, most countries in Central America and the Caribbean are still at the early stages of implementing HTA to support decision-making. Conclusions. Many countries in the Americas have benefited from the exchange and capacity-building opportunities within RedETSA. However, there are still many challenges to overcome in the Region in terms of the discussion and creation of HTA-related policies.