Health technology assessment


    New interventions and technologies are constantly being developed and refined but their impacts on health, and implications for health systems, are not always clear. Health technology assessment (HTA) is a systematic and multidisciplinary evaluation of the properties of health technologies and interventions covering both their direct and indirect consequences. It is a multidisciplinary process that aims to determine the value of a health technology and to inform guidance on how these technologies can be used in health systems around the world. HTA is a transparent and accountable process that can be used by decision makers and other stakeholders to support the decision-making process in health care at the policy level by providing evidence about given technologies It has been described as a bridge that connects the world of research to that of policy making. 

    WHO Response

    As health technology assessment is a multidisciplinary approach that is applicable to all levels of a health system, WHO’s use of HTA is broad and integrated into several programs. For example, the HTA team conducts a global survey of HTA processes in WHO Member States and prepares guidance for its implementation in health systems. HTA is also used in broader evidence-informed health-related decision making, and in fair pricing guidelines for the procurement of health products.

    This work is conducted through both WHO’s global partnerships and programmes and through the WHO regional offices. The regional offices support the development of HTA capacity in their Member States though advocacy and raising awareness of the use of HTA in policy development, guidance for best practices and the coordination and collaboration between Member States and established partners. 


    WHO’s efforts to broaden the use of HTA has resulted in more tools and resources being available for HTA globally. For example, the WHO-CHOICE tools have been used to show efficiencies in procurement in different regions of the world, and HTA methods have been applied to find cost-effective interventions to reduce road-traffic accidents in sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia. At the country level, WHO-CHOICE information was used in Ethiopia to determine the affordability and financial efficacy of universal health coverage. 

    Understanding the importance of HTA in support of universal health coverage, resolution WHA67.23 was approved during the 67th World Health Assembly. The resolution recognizes the importance of evidence-based policy development and decision-making in health systems, and HTA’s role in sustainable and effective health systems. It also calls for the promotion of HTA within national frameworks, such as those for health system research, health professional education and the establishment of universal health coverage. 

    Less than 50%

    countries had

    legislative requirements to formalize HTA results in health care decision making in 2015

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    80% of respondents

    have a formal HTA

    process. As reported in the 2015 HTA survey.

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    Only 33%

    Use the term HTA

    In 2015, 80% Country respondents mention having a formal HTA process to inform decision-making.

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