Evaluating an established HTA agency in Canada
The Canadian Coordinating Office for Health Technology Assessment (CCOHTA) was established in December 1989 by the provincial, territorial and federal Ministries of Health. One of the first national health technology assessment (HTA) organisations in the world, CCOHTA's objective was to provide independent and reliable information regarding the appropriate use of health technologies in Canada.
In 2004, a pan-Canadian Health Technology Strategy recommended that the ‘traditional' CCOHTA model moves towards an approach suited to ‘health technology policy analysis'. In order to determine the requirements for this development, the Conference of Canadian Deputy Ministers of Health commissioned a review, as part of which NICE was asked to assess the quality and fitness-for-purpose of Technology Reports (TRs) produced by CCOHTA to inform policy. The assessment would also include the methods used in TR production, topic selection and commissioning.
Over a 3-month period, the NICE Review Team, consisting of senior technical analysts, the Chair of the NICE technology appraisals committee and the NICE CEO, undertook an on-site analysis of the functions and products of CCOHTA. This included an overview of TRs published between 2002-04; an in-depth analysis of a selection of CCOHTA guidance products; a series of interviews with CCOHTA staff and external stakeholders. The Review Team was supported by an information specialist and editorial team at NICE. The outcome of the review was a report submitted to the Ministry of Health. The report made a number of recommendations identifying strengths and weaknesses of the current process.
The report was undertaken at a point critical to the development of HTA in Canada; it well-received by both CCOHTA and the commissioning authority and its core recommendations informed the subsequent reform in the functions and objectives of CCOHTA in the Canadian context.
This page was last updated: 09 June 2009