International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care


Key principles for the improved conduct of health technology assessments for resource allocation decisions

Michael F. Drummonda1, J. Sanford Schwartza2, Bengt Jönssona3, Bryan R. Lucea4, Peter J. Neumanna5, Uwe Sieberta6 and Sean D. Sullivana7

a1 University of York

a2 University of Pennsylvania

a3 Stockholm School of Economics

a4 United BioSource Corporation

a5 Tufts University

a6 UMIT—University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology

a7 University of Washington


Health technology assessment (HTA) is a dynamic, rapidly evolving process, embracing different types of assessments that inform real-world decisions about the value (i.e., benefits, risks, and costs) of new and existing technologies. Historically, most HTA agencies have focused on producing high quality assessment reports that can be used by a range of decision makers. However, increasingly organizations are undertaking or commissioning HTAs to inform a particular resource allocation decision, such as listing a drug on a national or local formulary, defining the range of coverage under insurance plans, or issuing mandatory guidance on the use of health technologies in a particular healthcare system. A set of fifteen principles that can be used in assessing existing or establishing new HTA activities is proposed, providing examples from existing HTA programs. The principal focus is on those HTA activities that are linked to, or include, a particular resource allocation decision. In these HTAs, the consideration of both costs and benefits, in an economic evaluation, is critical. It is also important to consider the link between the HTA and the decision that will follow. The principles are organized into four sections: (i) “Structure” of HTA programs; (ii) “Methods” of HTA; (iii) “Processes for Conduct” of HTA; and (iv) “Use of HTAs in Decision Making.”


The authors are members of The International Group for HTA Advancement.