Agenas – The National Agency for Regional Health Services
– Dr. Francesco Bevere, Director-General, Agenas
History and Structure
The National Agency for Regional Health Services (Agenas) is a public agency founded in 1993 as a technical-scientific body of the Ministry of health.
The objectives of the Agency are essentially to promote innovation and quality in health care, to perform comparative analysis of the cost and effectiveness of the services offered to the public and to provide technical support to the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Regions.
The Agency also participates in several projects co-financed by the European Union and coordinates health research programs financed by the Ministry of Health.
The HTA activity started as a research program, when the Agency became partner in different national projects and in the EUnetHTA project. The Financial Act of 2007 has determined that the Agency would support the Ministry of health in the evaluation of biomedical technologies. In addition, according to the financial law of 2015, Agenas will coordinate the Regional Network responsible for the National HTA Program on Medical Devices.
In the field of HTA, the role of the Agency is:
- to support the national priority setting process (by collecting regional and national views) both at national and regional level;
- to produce HTA reports for the Ministry of health;
- to provide technical and operational support for the development of HTA programmes in the regions.
Our aim is to provide the methodological instruments needed to strengthen the Italian Health Service. We achieve this by defining methodological standards for evaluating medical devices and by assessing innovations, new technologies, organizational and administrative tools which can be used to provide solutions to enhance the efficiency and quality of the health services. We provide the instruments used for planning and carrying out checks and controls at different levels within the Health System.
How Agenas Works
Agenas manages four national programmes:
- Health Technology Assessment (HTA);
- Clinical risk and patients’ safety;
- Clinical and organisational guidelines;
- Core benefits and health expenditure monitoring.
To achieve these objectives the Agency has four technical departments:
- Innovation Research and Development (IRD) which includes HTA and Horizon Scanning;
- Healthcare quality and accreditation;
- Healthcare planning and organisation;
- National framework for health services (core benefits and health expenditure).
Agenas employs epidemiologists, health economists, social scientists, bio-statisticians, clinical engineers, information specialists and administrative support staff.
Knowledge Transfer and Dissemination
Transfer and dissemination are realized through the Agenas website, through a periodical publication called “Monitor”, articles in national and international scientific journals, meetings and seminars.
Current Projects Related to HTA (A Selection)
In 2014 we have produced:
Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT) in colorectal liver metastases;
Rapid HTA reports:
1. Triple-chambered pacemakers;
2. Ultrasound energy devices for general surgery;
Adaptation HTA reports:
1. Effectiveness of systematic screening for the detection of atrial fibrillation;
2. Screening for lung cancer;
3. WatchBP Home A for opportunistically detecting atrial fibrillation during diagnosis and monitoring of hypertension;
Horizon scanning reports:
1. Allogenic bio-artificial liver support system;
2. Intelligent pills for conditions with pharmacology therapy for long term;
3. Technology for water vapor thermo-ablation for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia;
4. Transchateter implantable miniaturised leadless pacemakers.
The full list of ongoing and completed projects (HTA reports, Systematic reviews, Adaptation HTA and Rapid HTA) can be found at the following links:
Since 2009 Agenas has organized a national system of horizon scanning (COTE) and a knowledge exchange platform for HTA. In addition, the Agency acts as national hub of the network of regional authorities interested in performing HTA activities in collaboration. The full list of Horizon Scanning reports can be found at http://www.agenas.it/aree-tematiche/hta-health-technology-assessment/hs-horizon-scanning/report-hs. At international level Agenas is designed as member of EUnetHTA Network by the Ministry of Health and participates to the second European Joint Action on HTA. In the second EUnetHTA Joint Action Agenas is leading the Work package relative to Core HTA production.
At national level the Agency is managing a process to establish formal relationships among different actors involved, setting up relations with health workers, with universities, with ISS (Istituto Superiore di Sanità – National Institute for Health), with scientific societies, with industries and Regions. We look for a more advanced legal framework to improve HTA coordination and a wide process of dissemination.
We are also engaged in capacity building in the field of HTA at regional and local level, both on the side of production and use of already available information.
Description of population served:
Population served (mil): 60
Current HTA budget (mil USD): 5.34
Permanent staff: 45
Consultants: About 160 collaborators
Ongoing TA projects: 1 Full HTA report, 2 Rapid HTA reports; 1 Adaptation report; 3 Horizon scanning reports
Director: Dr. Francesco Bevere
Contact person: Marina Cerbo
The Agency for Regional Healthcare
23 – 00187 Rome Italy