International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

TO EVALUATE VERSUS TO KNOW THE VALUE OF EVERYTHING

Bjørn Hofmanna1, Samuli I. Saarnia2, Annette Braunack-Mayera3 and Gert Jan van der Wilta4

a1 University College of Gjøvik and Norwegian Knowledge Center for the Health Services, Oslo, Norway email: b.m.hofmann@medisin.uio.no

a2 National Institute for Health and Welfare, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Helsinki, Finland, Department of Psychiatry, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland

a3 Adelaide Health Technology Assessment School of Population Health and Clinical Practice, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia

a4 Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and HTA, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Kathrin Dengler and Uta Bittner demand a full-fledged philosophy of values in our empirical study of various methods for ethical analysis in health technology assessment (HTA). This may be like putting the classification of disease on hold until the concept of disease is clarified, or postponing the development of health care until the term “health” is clarified. As Dengler and Bittner rightly point out, the term value has many meanings, and as they properly recognize: “[P]hilosophically, the definition of what is meant by ‘a good life’ or ‘well-being’ is a very challenging project.” Hence, it may be a bit over the top to crave that we solve eternal issues in an empirical article on methodology.