Surgeons' views of Health Technology Assessment in Australia: online pilot-survey

Cambridge University Press
Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care, 2013, 29 (3), pp. 309 - 314
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Introduction: Many governments have introduced health technology assessment (HTA) as an important tool to manage the uptake and use of health-related technologies efficiently. Although surgeons play a central role in the uptake and diffusion of new technologies, little is known about their opinion and understanding of the HTA role and process. Methods: A cross-sectional pilot study was conducted using an online questionnaire which was distributed to Fellows of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons over a 4-week period. Information was sought about knowledge and views of the HTA process. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the data, frequencies, and proportions were calculated. Results: Sixty-two surgeons completed the survey; of these, 55 percent reported their primary work place as a public hospital. Twenty-four percent of the participants reported that they had never heard of the HTA agency and 60 percent reported that surgical procedures are most likely to be introduced in the Australian healthcare system at the public hospital level (which is beyond the HTAs scope and dealt with at a state level). However, 61 percent considered that decisions about funding and adoption of new technologies should take place at the national level. Conclusions: This survey provides some evidence that many surgeons remain unaware of the federal governments HTA process but still value evidence-based information. In order for HTA to be an effective aid to rational adoption of health-related technologies, there is a need for an evidence-based approach that is integrated and is accepted and understood by the medical professions.
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