REVIEW – June 2008

Development and future of health technology assessment (HTA) in Europe and in Estonia


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HTA as a fi eld of activities has been actual in Europa as well as worldwide during the last 20 years. The main goal of HTA is to provide evidence-based information for decision making in health policy and health practice, and to guarantee effective use of health care resources.
The general objective of the three-year EUnetHTA (European Network for Health Technology Assessment) project (2006-2008) was to establish an effective and sustainable European Network for Health technology Assessment, EUnetHTA, that informes policy decisions. The general strategic objective of the Network is to connect public national HTA agencies, research institutions and health ministries, enabling effective exchange of information and support to policy decisions by the Member States. By the spring 2008, six months before the end of the project, many milestones have already been reached. There exists the first version of the Core HTA model on effectiveness and the fi rst Core HTA Topic (drug eluting stents). The HTA adaptation toolkit (including a glossary) is being tested by the EUnetHTA partners. Books describing the role of HTA in health policy and a handbook on capacity building in HTA for countries with limited experience are being compiled. The vision for the future, i.e. starting from 2009, is that EUnetHTA will: 1) transform into a permanent network for HTA in Europe with a supporting secretariat, 2) have established a transparent structure of stakeholder involvement. When planning the development of HTA activities in Estonia, it is reasonable to consider the historical experience of neighbouring countries. The development of HTA activities in Estonia, in collaboration and cooperation with the Finnish Office for Health Technology Assessment and the Danish Centre for HTA and other European institutions, is a big challange/possibility for the Estonian health care system.