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HTA for medical devices

Evolving Use Of HTA In Medical Device Procurement

The ever-expanding landscape of healthcare technology and industry demands informed decision-making. Health Technology Assessment (HTA) plays a central role in this process, delivering a systematic evaluation of healthcare interventions. By scrutinizing the clinical effectiveness, safety, and cost-effectiveness of novel and emerging technologies, HTA enables healthcare systems to build evidence-based preferences.

Medical devices, from pacemakers to magnetic resonance imaging machines, are radically bringing changes in patient care and healthcare delivery. However, integrating HTA for medical devices into procurement processes remains a work in progress. Recent research by the ISPOR Special Interest Group (2023) sheds light on this topic, emphasizing a sparse connection between HTA and medical device purchasing decisions.

This blog probes the evolving use of HTA in medical device procurement and delves into the potential reasons behind this limited impact.

Tailoring The Framework To Align HTA For Medical Devices

Traditionally, HTA has been instrumental in evaluating pharmaceuticals. However, applying the same framework to medical devices presents unique challenges. Unlike medications with standardized delivery methods, medical devices often undergo frequent iterations, have user-dependent effectiveness, and encompass a broader range of functionalities. These roadblocks necessitate a nuanced approach to HTA for medical devices.

The Asia-Pacific region exemplifies this shift. Realizing the growing importance of cost-effectiveness, several countries in this region are actively exploring the use of HTA for medical devices. This trend stays in line with the global push towards value-based healthcare, where resource allocation prioritizes interventions with demonstrably improved patient outcomes at a sustainable cost.

Emerging Use Of HTA In Medical Device Procurement

The ISPOR study mentioned above raises a crucial question: how effectively is HTA impacting medical device procurement decisions? The research suggests a limited impact, outlining a potential disconnect between HTA and purchasing practices. There are several potential factors that might contribute to this prevailing gap:

Lack Of Incentives: Procurement bodies often lack incentives to actively harness HTA reports. Without a clear mandate or performance metrics tied to HTA integration, the adoption rate may remain slow and ineffective.

Specificity Challenges: Generalizing HTA outcomes across diverse medical device types is a major hurdle. The unique functionalities and learning curves associated with each medical device demand a more granular HTA approach.

Limited Transparency: Opaque procurement processes can delay the integration of HTA findings. Increased transparency in decision-making criteria can potentially enable better alignment between HTA recommendations and purchasing preferences.

Advantages Of Integrating HTA In Medical Device Procurement

Integrating Health Technology Assessment(HTA) into the procurement process of medical devices brings several benefits, enhancing the efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and overall quality of healthcare delivery. HTA is a systematic approach that evaluates the properties and/or impacts of health technology. Its primary purpose is to report technology-related policymaking in healthcare, particularly decisions on introducing and diffusing novel technologies, including medical devices.

Enhanced Clinical Outcomes

One of the main benefits of incorporating HTA in medical device procurement is the potential for improved clinical outcomes. HTA examines the safety, efficacy, and therapeutic value of medical devices before they are purchased or utilized in clinical settings. By providing that only devices that meet rigorous health effectiveness standards are procured, healthcare facilities can deliver better patient care. This proactive assessment helps reduce the incidence of device-related complications and increases the overall effectiveness of medical treatments.


Cost management is crucial in healthcare, and HTA is central in ensuring medical devices provide value for money. Through economic evaluations, HTA assesses the cost relative to the benefit of new medical technologies. This includes the initial purchasing costs, long-term maintenance, necessary training, and potential health outcomes. By prioritizing devices that provide significant clinical benefits at reasonable costs, hospitals and other care providers can streamline their budgets and allocate resources more efficiently, potentially leading to substantial savings.

Strategic Resource Allocation

HTA sustains strategic decision-making by providing comprehensive data about medical devices’ performance and needs. This evidence-based approach helps healthcare administrators prioritize which devices should be procured based on actual data, including patient population needs and long-term health system benefits. This strategic resource allocation ensures that investments are made in technologies that will substantially impact health outcomes and patient satisfaction.

Promotes Innovation And Quality Assurance

Incorporating HTA in procurement indirectly promotes innovation within the medical device industry. Manufacturers are incentivized to develop products that meet the stringent criteria set out by HTA evaluations concerning effectiveness, safety, and cost-efficiency. This competition drives technological advancements and improvements in quality. Further, regular HTA reviews keep these standards current with the latest scientific evidence, pushing manufacturers to continually enhance their products to meet these evolving benchmarks.

Risk Management

HTA helps identify probable risks associated with the use of medical devices. This assessment includes long-term safety and the probability of device failure, which are imperative for managing patient risk. By understanding these risks beforehand, care providers can deploy required safety measures or decide against purchasing devices that pose significant risks. This proactive risk management can prevent future legal and health complications, preserving the institution’s reputation and reducing liability.

Facilitates Transparency And Accountability

When HTA is integrated into the procurement process, it enhances transparency and accountability in decision-making. Stakeholders, including patients and healthcare professionals, are better informed about why certain technologies are adopted and funded. This openness builds trust among consumers and encourages more rational, evidence-based discussions and decisions concerning healthcare spending.

The Road Ahead – Collaboration Is The Key

Further research is essential to comprehend the long-term impact of HTA on medical device procurement practices. A collaborative approach involving HTA bodies, procurement entities, and healthcare providers will be crucial in streamlining the HTA utilization.

While the ISPOR study highlights a gap between HTA and medical device procurement, it also underscores the need for ongoing exploration. Tailoring HTA frameworks, encouraging collaboration amongst stakeholders, and promoting transparency can unlock the full potential of HTA in optimizing medical device procurement decisions. By harnessing the power of HTA and prioritizing evidence-based practices, healthcare systems can ensure the responsible allotment of resources and the delivery of optimal-quality care to patients.

[Previous Read: Demystifying Health Technology Assessment]
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