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JOURNAL ARTICLE

INTRODUCTION OF INNOVATIVE MEDICAL DEVICES AT FRENCH UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS: AN OVERVIEW OF HOSPITAL-BASED HEALTH TECHNOLOGY ASSESSMENT INITIATIVES

Nicolas Martelli, Mathilde Billaux, Isabelle Borget, Judith Pineau, Patrice Prognon, Helene van den Brink
International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care 2015, 31 (1-2): 12-8
25991072

OBJECTIVES: Local health technology assessment (HTA) to determine whether new health technologies should be adopted is now a common practice in many healthcare organizations worldwide. However, little is known about hospital-based HTA activities in France. The objective of this study was to explore hospital-based HTA activities in French university hospitals and to provide a picture of organizational approaches to the assessment of new and innovative medical devices.

METHODS: Eighteen semi-structured interviews with hospital pharmacists were conducted from October 2012 to April 2013. Six topics were discussed in depth: (i) the nature of the institution concerned; (ii) activities relating to innovative medical devices; (iii) the technology assessment and decision-making process; (iv) the methodology for technology assessment; (v) factors likely to influence decisions and (vi) suggestions for improving the current process. The interview data were coded, collated and analyzed statistically.

RESULTS: Three major types of hospital-based HTA processes were identified: medical device committees, innovation committees, and "pharmacy & management" processes. HTA units had been set up to support medical device and innovation committees for technology assessment. Slow decision making was the main limitation to both these committee-based approaches. As an alternative, "pharmacy & management" processes emerged as a means of rapidly obtaining a formal assessment.

CONCLUSIONS: This study provides an overview of hospital-based HTA initiatives in France. We hope that it will help to promote hospital-based HTA activities in France and discussions about ways to improve and harmonize practices, through the development of national guidelines and/or a French mini-HTA tool, for example.

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