Principles for Health Technology Assessment Bodies


Health Technology Assessment (HTA) varies from country-to-country in relation to health-system structures and conditions. As more and more health technology assessment bodies have come into being, a set of fifteen key principles for their organisation and conduct has been developed by the International Working Group for HTA Advancement, an independent group of HTA scholars.1 These principles emphasise standards and elements of good practice for HTA bodies, in order for them to best fulfil their role as the bridge between science and policy decision-making.

Structure of health technology assessment programs

  1. The goal and scope of the HTA should be explicit and relevant to its use
  2. HTA should be an unbiased and transparent exercise
  3. HTA should include all relevant technologies
  4. A clear system for setting priorities for HTA should exist.

Methods of health technology assessment

  1. HTA should incorporate appropriate methods for assessing costs and benefits
  2. HTA should consider a wide range of evidence and outcomes
  3. A full societal perspective should be considered when undertaking HTA
  4. HTA should explicitly characterise uncertainty surrounding estimates
  5. HTA should consider and address issues of generalisability and transferability

Processes for conducting health technology assessment

  1. Those conducting HTA should actively engage all key stakeholder groups (such as professional bodies, patient organisations, manufacturers)
  2. Those undertaking HTA should actively seek all available data
  3. The implementation of HTA findings needs to be monitored

Use of health technology assessment for decision making

  1. HTA should be timely
  2. HTA findings need to be communicated appropriately to different decision-makers
  3. The link between HTA findings and decision-making processes needs to be transparent and clearly defined

The International Working Group for HTA Advancement also developed a useful tool from this set of principles: a series of related questions that could be used to benchmark or develop an HTA organisation2 (See Fact Sheet: Key principles and related questions for benchmarking HTA bodies).


  1. Drummond, M., Schwartz, J.S., Jönsson, B. (2008). ‘Key principles for the improved conduct of health technology assessments for resource allocation decisions.’ International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care, 24(3), 244-258.
  2. Drummond, M., Neumann, P., Jönsson,B., et al. (2012). ‘Can We Reliably Benchmark Health Technology Assessment Organizations?’ International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care, 28(2), 159-165.


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