IMPLEMENTING THE FINDINGS OF HEALTH TECHNOLOGY ASSESSMENTS
(If the CAT Got Out of the Bag, Can the TAIL Wag the Dog?)
Objective: To explore whether more could be done to increase the implementation of health technology assessment (HTA) findings.
Methods: A literature review was undertaken to identify the main barriers to implementation, the mechanisms that influence the diffusion and use of health technologies, and evidence of the successful implementation of findings.
Results: Numerous barriers to the implementation of HTA findings exist at the public policy, health- care professional, and general public levels. Several mechanisms for influencing the use of health technologies exist, and there are some examples of findings being implemented through these mechanisms. However, there are also concerns about the aggressive implementation of findings. A balanced approach to the implementation of HTAs is required.
Conclusion: The main elements of a successful implementation strategy are: a) defining a clear policy question; b) defining a clear research question; c) making recommendations commensurate with the evidence; d) identifying the implementation mechanism; e) paying attention to incentives and disincentives; and f) clarifying the roles and responsibilities of the various parties. Further research is also required into several aspects of implementation.
Key Words: Cost-benefit analysis; Diffusion of innovation; Health technology assessment; Motivation.