Health Technology Assessment: Choosing Which Treatments Get Funded

The University of Sheffield
General HTA
Course outline: 

Why join the course?

Have you ever wondered why some drugs are made available to patients via healthcare services such as the NHS, while others are not? In this free online course, we’ll look at how healthcare organisations make decisions about whether we should have access to certain treatments, focussing on a key part of the information used to make these decisions - Health Technology Assessment (HTA).

Topics covered in this course include:

•What health technology assessment is and how it is applied by healthcare decision-makers to inform the choices they make about which drugs and treatments should be made available to patients- this means looking at both the benefits or effects of the treatment, and its costs.

•The kinds of evidence that can help us to decide whether a treatment is of benefit, and how much of a benefit it gives.

•The range of evidence types, with a focus on clinical trials, what they can offer, their limitations and why they are particularly important for HTA.

•The methods used to bring the existing research and evidence about a treatment together, so we can get a clear picture of what benefits the treatment offers. To do this, we looked at a technique called ‘sytematic reviewing’ which combines the evidence into a single report, and uses statistical techniques to bring the data from a number of studies together to create a single estimate of the effects of a treatment.

•The ways in which the costs of drugs and the economic impacts can be compared with those of existing treatments. To do this we looked at how a specific research technique, economic modelling, is used. We looked at the different kinds of model, their value in HTA and how they are combined with the evidence from our systematic review of the clinical effectiveness of a treatment to produce estimates of costs/benefit. We also looked at the final HTA report, to give a direct insight into the information that decision makers are presented with. We looked at how decision makers use the HTA report, in conjunction with a wider range of information and input, to make a final decision.

•We finished by briefly looking at how a decision to make a treatment available (or not) impacts on other health services.

Type of training: 
Massive open online course (MOOC)
Delivery mode: 
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