Health technology assessment in Ireland.

TitleHealth technology assessment in Ireland.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsAhern F, O'Doherty N
JournalInternational journal of technology assessment in health care
Date Published2000 Spring
KeywordsDelivery of health Care; Ireland; Private Practice; State Medicine; Technology Assessment, Biomedical; Universal Coverage
AbstractIreland's health system is primarily funded from general taxation and is publicly provided, although private health care retains a considerable role. It is a unique structure, a mixture of universal health service free at the point of consumption and a fee-based private system where individuals subscribe to private health insurance that covers some of their medical expenses. The recent history of the Irish health services saw consolidation of existing services and an expansion into new areas to adapt to changing practices and needs. There has also been a drive to extract maximum efficiency so as to maintain the volume and quality of patient services at a time of very tight financial constraints. Introduction of new health technologies continued to accelerate. New technologies tended to spread rapidly before systematic appraisal of their costs and benefits. When the state is involved in funding the public hospital system, acceptance of new technology is a matter for discussion between agencies and the Department of Health and Children. Decisions about spending annual "development funding" have generally not been based on careful assessment of proposals for new technology. In 1995, a healthcare reform put new Public Health Departments in Health Boards in a prime position in Ireland's health services organization. These departments now emphasize evidence-based medicine. While Ireland does not have a national health technology assessment (HTA) program, there are plans to form an advisory group on HTA in 1998. HTA is seen as a significant element of future health policy in Ireland.
Alternate JournalInt J Technol Assess Health Care