History of health technology assessment: Spain.

TitleHistory of health technology assessment: Spain.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsSampietro-Colom L, Asua J, Briones E, Gol J
Corporate AuthorsAuNETS Group
JournalInternational journal of technology assessment in health care
Volume25 Suppl 1
Date Published2009 Jul
KeywordsDiffusion of Innovation; History, 20th Century; History, 21st Century; Program Development; Spain; Technology Assessment, Biomedical
AbstractOBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to describe the characteristics of the introduction and diffusion of health technology assessment (HTA) in Spain. METHODS: A survey to summarize the evolution of HTA was sent to representatives of different HTA initiatives in Spain. RESULTS: HTA was introduced in the late 1980s. The main factors were the trend to an increase in healthcare expenditure, concerns regarding efficiency in providing health care, as well as in the level of rationality introducing high technology. Spain has direct (i.e., regulation) and indirect (i.e., payment systems, evidence-based programs, HTA) mechanisms to control health technologies. A recent high priority regulation has established the need of HTA to decide the introduction of a new health technology in the lists of public healthcare coverage, although similar regulations existed in the past and were scarcely implemented. HTA initiatives started at the regional government level. Its introduction followed a progressive pattern among regions. In the beginning, resources were scarce and expertise limited, with work done at intramural level. With time, expertise increase, and promotion of commissioned work was implemented. HTA knowledge transfer in the healthcare system has been carried out through courses, publications, and commissioned research. Currently, there are seven HTA units/agencies, which coordinate their work. CONCLUSIONS: HTA in Spain is in its maturity. Facing the unavoidable change of health care environment over time, HTA is also evolving and, currently, there is a trend to broaden the areas of influence of HTA by devolving capacity to hospitals and applying principles to very early phases of health technology development, under the umbrella of regional HTA units/agencies. However, there are two main challenges ahead. One is to have a real impact at the highest level of healthcare policy coordination among Spanish regions, which is done at the Central Ministry of Health. The other is to avoid the influence of political waves in the level of recognition of HTA at the policy decision-making level and to have an adequate and stable funding of HTA initiatives.
Alternate JournalInt J Technol Assess Health Care