Assessing HTA on Large-scale E-health Processes –Introducing the Need for Action Research


The expectations for better e-health solutions to support high-quality healthcare services have grown enormously, with accessibility, efficiency and effectiveness as key goals. E-health is a field focusing on combining clinical activity and technical development, as well as complying political requirements. It is important to evaluate e-health solutions capability in relation to the desired goals, to justify the high costs associated with such solutions.

Applying HTA on complex E-health systems

Health Technology Assessment (HTA) is a method aiming to produce rational decisions for purchasing new technology and evaluate healthcare investments like drugs and medical equipment, by measuring added value in relation to clinical effectiveness, safety and cost-effectiveness. There is a desire to apply HTA assessment on large-scale e-health solutions as well, however it is not clear whether traditional quantitative HTA methodology like RCTs is assessable to complex E-health systems like Electronic Patient Records (EPR), developed and implemented over years as an ongoing process. Therefore, an action research approach designed to work with complex large-scale programs seems like a more suitable approach.

Using HTA to facilitate informed decisions during complex E-health projects

We like to apply HTA as an action research approach on a longitudinal empirical project developing and implementing a large-scale open platform-based EPR system. The purpose of the research is to generate knowledge of the socio-technical interdependencies influencing the deployment of such large-scale e-health solutions.

The aim is to evaluate phases of the empirical process and present the findings to the stakeholders. This will build confidence between researchers and stakeholders, as well as facilitating informed decision-making, in which lessons-learned can be translated into the ingoing program, as well as included in policy decisions.