International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care

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International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care (2009), 25:33-41 Cambridge University Press
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009

General Essays

Health technology assessment in the United States

Bryan Lucea1 and Rebecca Singer Cohena1

a1 United BioSource Corporation
Article author query
luce b [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
cohen rs [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]


Objectives: To describe and explore the reasons for the current health technology assessment (HTA) landscape in the United States.

Methods: Relying on multiple historical literature and other documents as well as drawing on personal experiences and observations, we describe, evaluate, and explain the evolving and dynamic HTA-related evidence landscape.

Results: The present HTA-related landscape is a product of a dynamic, somewhat turbulent path in the United States. Many early aggressive federal efforts beginning in the 1970s were rejected in the 1980s only to be revived by the mid-1990s and continue to strengthen today, likely due to diffusing private sector political opposition from de-linking HTA from policy decisions (e.g., coverage, clinical guidelines) and omitting economic evaluation. Meanwhile, private sector HTA efforts have remained active during the entire period.

Conclusions: The current HTA-related landscape is at least as dynamic as it has been at any point in its turbulent 30-year history and is likely to continue as health reform in the US is debated once again.

Keywords:USA; HTA; History; Health policy