Developing the evidence report
A key phase in the assessment process is development of the evidence report, also called a health technology assessment. When key questions are final, contracted researchers begin to gather scientific research to determine the answers. A report identifies and rates the evidence based on its strength, quality, and relevance to the key questions. The report does not make recommendations about reimbursement or use of the technology.
An evidence report includes:
- A systematic search for evidence (usually clinical trials).
- Generating a summary of the studies' characteristics, methodological quality and results.
- Assessing studies for quality.
- Combining data from several studies.
- Considerations regarding:
- Health outcomes; and
- Cost - including cost data submitted by state agencies affected by the committee decision.
- HTA contracts with technology assessment centers (TACs) to conduct the reviews.
- HTA forwards public comments about evidence that individuals believe should be considered in the review, as well as data and information received from state agencies.
- When the TAC completes a draft evidence report, it is published to the HTA website and stakeholders are notified of the availability of a draft for comment.
- The TAC may also request peer review from clinical and methods experts.
- Comments about the report are collected by HTA, reviewed and responded to by the TAC, and a final evidence report is completed and published prior to HTCC public meetings.
Draft evidence reports are posted online to gather input. HTA seeks input on the appropriateness and completeness of the technology assessment, especially regarding the scientific evidence about the key questions. Input about issues related to the review of the scientific evidence is most helpful, including:
- Identification of evidence not reviewed, but available from peer-reviewed publications.
- Issues with interpretations of the evidence cited in the technology review.
- Important health outcomes.
- Study design issues that limit the applicability or availability of evidence
- Possibility of developing better evidence, including any pending studies; and
- Context information related to the balance of potential or actual benefits, harms, and costs.