AHTA – Adelaide Health Technology Assessment
"Excellence in health technology assessment."
History and Structure
Adelaide Health Technology Assessment (AHTA) is located within the School of Population Health at The University of Adelaide. It was established in 2001 to conduct evidence based applied research that primarily informs policy makers in government and non-government organisations. This research includes identifying emerging health care interventions, as well as assessing the safety, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of new and established health care interventions using "best practice" methodologies.
AHTA is dedicated to:
- Providing high quality evidence-based assessment of health care for the development of informed policy and clinical decision making; and
- Developing expertise and capacity in health technology assessment
in order to improve public health and contributing to an efficient and equitable health system.
How AHTA Works
AHTA has 15-20 multi-disciplinary research staff, as well as administrative support. This team consists of dedicated individuals with backgrounds, variously, in clinical epidemiology, public health, psychology, pharmacy, medicine, health economics, statistics, science and bioethics. AHTA also benefits from the support of several affiliate academics and clinical consultants.
AHTA staff have extensive experience performing evidence-based assessments on a wide range of health care technologies, procedures and services. AHTA’s activities span horizon scanning, regulatory evaluation, reimbursement evaluation (investment and disinvestment) and guideline development. These are featured in AHTA’s applied research for the Australian Government Department of Health, on behalf of the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC), Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC), and for the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). The health technology assessment activities for the MSAC and PBAC directly impact on government reimbursement decisions for services funded under the Medicare Benefits Scheme and for pharmaceuticals listed under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Other activities have built on this applied research, particularly in the fields of health service disinvestment or reallocation, direct-to-consumer marketing, pharmacogenetics, and methodologies for evaluating health technologies.
The public has free access to information on AHTA activities and reports via the following websites:
- Adelaide Health Technology Assessment – www.adelaide.edu.au/ahta/pubs
- Medical Services Advisory Committee – www.msac.gov.au
- Health Policy Advisory Committee on technology – www.horizonscanning.gov.au and http://www.health.qld.gov.au/healthpact/default.asp
AHTA's peer-reviewed publications have been published in journals, e.g., International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care, Journal of Medical Decision Making, British Journal of Surgery, BMC Medical Research Methodology, and Medical Journal of Australia. Other methods for disseminating information on AHTA's activities include participation in national and international conferences and delivery of workshops.
AHTA staff teach into The University of Adelaide postgraduate online course in Health Technology Assessment, as well as a short course in Health Technology Assessment. Details are available at www.adelaide.edu.au/ahta
Current Projects (A Selection)
Current AHTA projects assessing the safety, effectiveness, and cost effectiveness of medical procedures and technologies include:
- Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Regulator (CFTR) Testing
- Transient Elastography at 50Hz for the diagnosis for Liver Fibrosis in patients with confirmed Hepatitis B or confirmed Hepatitis C
- Pathology tests for active mycobacterial infection
- Technical Review of the Australian Government’s Life Savings Drugs Programme
- Various committee-in-confidence evaluations of pharmaceuticals being assessed for reimbursement
- Maintain activities providing Health Technology Assessment (HTA) services to governmental and non-governmental organisations
- Develop collaborative research activities with international HTA agencies
- Build capacity in HTA through teaching and mentoring
- Develop new methods and standards for HTA
Description of population served: National
Population served (mil): 24
Current HTA budget (mil USD): 3/year
Permanent staff: 15-17
Ongoing TA projects: 15
Director: A/Prof Tracy Merlin
Contact person: A/Prof Tracy Merlin
Adelaide Health Technology Assessment
The University of Adelaide, School of Population Health
Level 7, 178 North Terrace
Discipline of Public Health, Mail Drop 545 Adelaide, South Australia