Alberta Health Technologies Decision Process
The Alberta Health Technologies Decision Process (the Decision Process) provides evidence and information for decision-making on the appropriateness/appropriate use of health technologies, services, and models of care. The Decision Process bridges the areas of research, public policy, and service delivery. Reviews of selected health technologies contribute to positive health outcomes for Albertans and a sustainable healthcare system.
The Alberta Advisory Committee on Health Technologies (AACHT) is a committee of high-level health system executives that oversees the AHTDP, approves topics for review, and makes formal recommendations based on review findings. It is co-chaired by the Ministry of Health and Alberta Health Services, and includes senior leaders from these two organizations, the Alberta Medical Association, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta, the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta, and Canada’s Medical Technology Companies (MEDEC).
The guiding principles of the evidence based Decision Process are: patient-centeredness, transparency, efficiency, and quality.
The Decision Process is comprised of 4 main steps:
1. Setting priorities (selection of health technologies, services, and models of care for provincial review; and scope definition)
Setting priorities involves the selection of topics that warrant review at the provincial level using defined criteria. Potential topics for review are identified through various means:
- Ministry staff regularly scan for potential topics through Internet searches of other health technology assessment agencies, Health Canada reports, professional journals and the media.
- Topics can be referred for consideration by health system stakeholders and the public.
The scope of a provincial review is defined prior to initiation of a health technology assessment.
2. Conducting health technology assessments (HTAs) of selected health technologies, services, and models of care
Health technology assessments are conducted by 3 arms-length, internationally recognized HTA agencies: the Institute of Health Economics, University of Alberta Health Technology and Policy Unit, and the University of Calgary Health Technology Assessment Unit. These assessments consider existing evidence and other information relevant to social systems and demographics, technology effects and effectiveness, and economic considerations.
These HTA agencies receive guidance and input for HTAs from expert advisory groups made up of clinical experts, patient representatives and personnel from the Ministry of Health and Alberta Health Services who are knowledgeable about the review topics.
3. Developing policy options, consulting stakeholders, and developing recommendations
Findings from the HTAs are used to inform the development of policy options. Policy options take into consideration other elements such as:
- fit with the Government of Alberta’s strategic direction
- models of provision in other jurisdictions
- quality assurance
- ethical, psychosocial, and societal values
- fit with appropriate legal and regulatory frameworks
- impact on patients, the healthcare system, and technology providers, and
- implementation feasibility.
Stakeholders are consulted on the findings of HTAs and the policy analysis/options.
Policy options that take into account the findings of the provincial reviews, including stakeholder feedback, are presented to the AACHT for recommendation on appropriateness/appropriate use in Alberta. HTA findings and recommendations are provided to relevant stakeholders to inform decision making.
4. Monitoring and evaluating the impact of HTA
The impact of HTAs on patients and the health care system is monitored and evaluated.
Refer a health technology or service to the Decision Process
If you know of a health technology or service that you believe would benefit Albertans or an existing technology that could be used more appropriately, refer the technology/service to Alberta Health by completing the Referral form.
Provincial reviews – ongoing and complete
- Linking Evidence from Health Technology Assessments to Policy and Decision Making: The Alberta Model by Henry Z. Borowski, Jon Brehaut, and David Hailey, 2007
- The Burden of Proof: An Alberta Model for Assessing Publicly Funded Health Services Final Report of the Expert Advisory Panel to Review Publicly Funded Health Services, 2003
The Health Technologies and Services Policy Unit, in the Research and Innovation Branch, is responsible for administration of the Decision Process. The Unit is also responsible for building capacity to produce and use evidence in decision-making with respect to health technologies and services, and for supporting the Alberta Advisory Committee on Health Technologies.
Call or email the Health Technologies and Services Policy Unit of Alberta Health –
- In Edmonton and area, call 780-422-0862
- Toll-free at 310-0000, then dial 780-422-0862
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org