Assessing Health Technology Assessment Progress in Asian Countries Using a Balanced Scorecard
Health technology assessment (HTA) is increasingly gaining momentum across countries as an evidence-based tool to inform resource allocation to health technologies as they strive to design equitable health care and sustainable universal health coverage (UHC). However, implementing HTA is an evolving journey for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), as they face complex challenges, such as limited technical expertise and a growing healthcare burden with limited available budgets. A recent paper published in the International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care assesses comparative progress on the adoption of HTA in Asian countries using a balanced scorecard and identifies lessons learned to advance HTA. The paper, published by technical experts from the USAID Medicines, Technologies, and Pharmaceutical Services (MTaPS) program, uses a scoring system on a scale of 1 to 5 to measure HTA progress in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
To systematically assess HTA progress, the experts developed a balanced scorecard based on previous research on milestones to HTA institutionalization in Asia (conducted by the World Health Organization [WHO]). The scorecard offers a pragmatic framework for assessing the state of HTA implementation and identifying potential weaknesses hindering its progression, applicable in and potentially beyond Asia.
A Few Highlights from Research Findings
Following are a few findings shared in the paper:
- Activities such as benefits package design or updating national essential medicines lists are good starting points for countries to apply HTA.
- A formal mechanism linking HTA to policy making along with political commitment can lead to strong HTA programs.
- Financial sustainability is paramount and must be considered in the initial stages of HTA program development.
- Raising awareness can increase engagement of and demand from patient populations.
- Regional collaboration has led to increased engagement in HTA, indicating that HTA resource hubs and shared infrastructure could be strategic to catalyze HTA institutionalization.
The paper leverages the previous extensive body of work by MTaPS on HTA-related research and on strengthening of capacities in Asian countries to advance their goal of UHC, including a landmark policy and guidance document for LMICs, “A Roadmap for Systematic Priority Setting and Health Technology Assessment (HTA): A Practical Guide for Policy Action in Low- and Middle-Income Countries,” developed by MTaPS in collaboration with Management Sciences for Health (MSH), its lead implementing organization.
Access the paper: Assessing progression of health technology assessment implementation in Asia: a balanced scorecard for cross comparison of selected countries in Asia, International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care, July 2022