International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care

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International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care (2009), 25:127-133 Cambridge University Press
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009

General Essays

Health technology assessment in Italy

Carlo Favarettia1, Americo Cicchettia2, Giovanni Guarreraa3, Marco Marchettia4 and Walter Ricciardia5

a1 Azienda Ospedaliero–Universitaria di Udine
a2 Catholic University of Sacred Heart and “A. Gemelli” University Hospital
a3 Azienda Ospedaliero–Universitaria S.M. Misericordia
a4 “A. Gemelli” University Hospital
a5 Catholic University of the Sacred Heart
Article author query
favaretti c [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
cicchetti a [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
guarrera g [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
marchetti m [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
ricciardi w [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]


Objectives: The aim of this study was to review the history of health technology assessment (HTA) in Italy.

Methods: Founded in 1978, the Italian National Health Service (NHS) has been strongly regionalized mainly after a constitutional reform, which started a devolution process. HTA started in the 1980s at the National Institute of Health and in a few University Hospitals, with a focus on big ticket technology: that process was driven by clinical engineers.

Results: In recent years, HTA is becoming an important tool for decision-making processes at central, regional, and local levels. In particular, the National Agency for Regional Health Services (AGENAS) and five regions (of twenty-one) are strongly committed to develop HTA initiatives connected with the planning process.

Conclusions: At the local level, the hospital-based HTA activity is probably the most important peculiarity of the country and the real driver of the HTA movement.

Keywords:Health technology assessment; History; Health policy; Evidence based medicine; Decision making