BC Health Technology Assessment

The BC Health Technology Assessment (HTA) process is used to provide evidence-informed advice about which devices, diagnostics, medical procedures and programs should be funded in the province. Key to this process is the HTA report itself, which is a comprehensive report that synthesizes clinical effectiveness, patient & provider perspectives, cost-effectiveness analysis, business impact analysis, and more. The HTA process was established by the health authority CEOs in partnership with the Ministry of Health in 2011 through an a memorandum of understanding (PDF, 226KB) which was signed November 2011. Shortly after the HTAC Terms of Reference (PDF, 51KB) was created, which details the goals and scope and working structure of HTAC.

HTAC is comprised of a member from the Ministry of Health and each of the province’s health authorities, as well as a scientific advisor, health economist, ethicist, and members of the public. The Committee is supported by a secretariat comprised of Ministry staff. For current committee and secretariat members, please see the HTAC webpage.

Health technologies considered in the HTA process fall into two general categories: new assessments and reassessments. New assessments capture health technologies not yet publically funded in BC that demonstrate potential for improving patient outcomes and/or reducing burdens on the healthcare system. Reassessments focus on health technologies already used in BC that may be less effective for patient outcomes and/or more costly than equally effective alternatives.

The HTA process ensures health technologies are assessed or reassessed in a coordinated and consistent manner informed by the available evidence so that British Columbians receive the best health care the province can afford.

HTA Process

HTAC’s HTA process has four main phases:

HTA Process Steps

1. Topic Identification, Selection and Prioritization – Topics (i.e., new or existing non-drug, health technologies) are selected by HTAC on an annual basis through a Call for Topics process. Topics may also be submitted for consideration at any time during the year.

HTAC uses a scored prioritization matrix to inform the topic selection and prioritization. The prioritization matrix helps determine which nominated technologies have the greatest potential for transformative change. The prioritization matrix can be viewed here (PDF, 183KB).

Suggestions on what new or existing technologies would benefit from a health technology assessment are welcome. In order to nominate a topic, please download and complete this form (PDF, 151KB). Please send it via email to the Health Technology Assessment Office (HTA.Office@gov.bc.ca) before the end of November in order to be considered for the next fiscal year. 

2. Conduct HTA – Organizations with health technology assessment expertise are commissioned to develop a health technology assessment using the best available evidence for the selected topics. Patient and clinician input are sought throughout this process.

3. HTA Review – HTAC reviews the health technology assessment, supporting materials and feedback from various stakeholders. HTAC may ask for additional data, analysis or feedback.

Central to HTAC’s review process is a multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) scoring matrix. Each HTAC member will score the technology using this matrix to inform the committee’s deliberations and recommendations regarding the assessed technology. The MCDA scoring matrix can be viewed here (PDF, 183KB).

4. Recommendations and Communication – After HTAC completes its review and scoring of a technology, it makes evidence-informed recommendations to a committee of senior ministry and health authority executives known as Leadership Council about whether a technology should be publicly provided. When Leadership Council approves HTAC’s recommendations, the HTA and recommendations are communicated directly to the nominator and other interested stakeholders before being posted publicly.