Methods Assessing Sociocultural Aspects of Health Technologies: Results of a Literature Review

Anne Kathrin Stich, Kati Mozygemba, Kristin Bakke Lysdahl, Lisa Maria Pfadenhauer, Bjørn Hofmann, Gert-Jan van der Wilt, Ansgar Gerhardus
International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care 2019 March 28, : 1-7

OBJECTIVES: Social and cultural aspects are rarely assessed in health technology assessments (HTA), despite being part of most HTA definitions. One hypothesis for the reason why they are hardly considered in HTA is that we lack relevant assessment methods. Accordingly, this review aims at providing an overview of methodological approaches to address social and cultural aspects related to health technologies in HTA.

METHODS: We conducted a comprehensive literature search by searching fourteen databases and a hand-search of two pertinent journals. Additionally, we sent a query to all member agencies of the International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) asking them for methods they use to assess social and cultural aspects.

RESULTS: A total of 125 publications met our inclusion criteria. We grouped the methodological approaches into checklists for experts, literature reviews, stakeholder participatory approaches, primary data collection methods, and combinations of methodological approaches.

CONCLUSIONS: There is a wide variety of methods available for assessing social and cultural aspects of health technologies, some of which have been applied in HTA. The presented overview of the different approaches and their merits can facilitate the assessment of these aspects, and improve the knowledge regarding (potential) success and failure of the implementation of a health technology.

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