Health technology assessment

The Health Technology Assessment (HTA) group within DHE is an expanding team whose primary role is the economic evaluation of new health technologies.

By way of background, health technology is any service used to promote health or to prevent or diagnose disease and can include: pharmaceuticals; medical or surgical procedures; prostheses; devices; diagnostic tests; and preventative programs. Although innovations in health technologies have resulted in improvements in both the quality and length of life, they come at a cost, and are seem by many as the main drivers of ever increasing health care costs. Health services providers, whether government or private, are faced with the challenge of delivering better health outcomes subject to available health care budgets. Health technology assessment aims to provide the necessary information to decision-makers about the costs, benefits and comparative value of health technologies. Through HTA, new health technologies can be evaluated against existing technologies and assessed for their cost-effectiveness.

One of the most significant means through which the Australian government ensures access to health services is through subsidised health services. The major schemes involve subsidised access to pharmaceuticals (Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule (PBS)) and subsidised access to medical services (Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS)).

The main role of the HTA group is the economic evaluation of new health technologies, including assessment of submissions requesting listing of pharmaceuticals on the PBS and as well as development of protocols and assessment of applications for medical services on the MBS. In addition, the HTA group is involved in researching the policy framework and processes under which public subsidies of new technologies may occur.

While much of the research work is subject to confidentiality restrictions, recent publications from this stream include:

  • Bulfone L, Younie S and Carter R. (2009) "Health Technology Assessment: reflections from the Antipodes", Value in Health, pp. S28-S38, Wiley-Blackwell, Malden, Massachusetts.
  • Bulfone L, Younie S and Murphy B. (2010) Assessment of Liver Iron by R2-MRI data analysis. MSAC application 1131, Assessment Report. Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, ACT.
  • Murphy B, Bulfone L.  (2012)  Diagnostic Use of Thyrotropin alfa-rch for Patients with Well-Differentiated Thyroid Cancer.  MSAC application 1156, Critique of Application. Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, ACT.
  • Murphy B, Whyte P.  (2012) Pathology Tests for Latent Mycobacterial Infection.  MSAC application 1144, Assessment Report.  Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, ACT.
  • Younie S, Murphy B.  (2012)  Measurement and Determination of Procalcitonin (PCT).  MSAC application 1139, Assessment Report.  Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, ACT.

Stream Coordinator: Patti Whyte, Senior Research Fellow,

Page custodian: Faculty of Health
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