HealthPACT – Health Policy Advisory Committee on Technology


 – Professor Brendon Kearney (Chair)

History and Purpose

The Health Policy Advisory Committee on Technology (HealthPACT), which was created in 2003 under the auspices of the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC), comprises representatives from all Australian State and Territory health departments, the Australian Department of Health and Ageing, the MSAC, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and New Zealand’s Ministry of Health and National Health Committee.  

HealthPACT’s primary role is to conduct horizon scanning of the peer reviewed and grey literature in order to proactively identify, and in so doing assist the jurisdictions to develop policy around, new and emerging medical devices and practices that may impact on the public health systems of Australia and New Zealand.  By providing an early warning system in the form of summarising the preliminary safety and effectiveness evidence, as well as regulatory, ethical and potential workforce and training issues, HealthPACT can inform jurisdictional financing decisions to assist in the managed introduction of new and emerging health technologies.


HealthPACT provides its health jurisdictions with evidence-based advice on emerging technologies that may impact on the public health system, primarily public hospitals. This information is used to inform financing decisions and to assist in the managed introduction of new technologies.

How the agency works

The HealthPACT Secretariat, currently managed by the Queensland Department of Health, is supported by representatives of HealthPACT to undertake horizon scanning, produce briefs and reports on new and emerging non-pharmaceutical health technologies, including diagnostic tests, procedures and devices.

The literature, web sites and news are scanned for potential new technologies. Identified technologies must satisfy pre-defined criteria or a “priority threshold”: i) It is associated with obvious safety or ethical issues or controversies ii) It has not been assessed and is rapidly diffusing throughout the Australian health system iii) It is applicable to a large proportion of the Australian population and may have considerable clinical or cost impact, or iv) It is applicable to a small proportion of the population but has obvious and far-reaching benefits. Furthermore, technologies must be deemed to be emerging into the Australian health system within a three year time horizon. Once a technology has been identified and has satisfied the priority threshold, a technology brief is prepared (up to 10 pages in length) covering safety, effectiveness, costs, burden of disease etc. These technology briefs are submitted to HealthPACT for decision making and dissemination throughout the jurisdictions. .

In addition, HealthPACT periodically conducts workshops to investigate clinical or technological issues which may have a significant national impact, such as TAVI.
HealthPACT’s active programme of horizon scanning facilitates the sharing of knowledge and information on the current evidence available on patient safety, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of new technologies in a timely manner to all Australian jurisdictions.

Dissemination activities

All Briefs are published on HealthPACT’s web site as well as the EuroScan database. In addition, 2 – 3 Bulletins are distributed yearly.

A list of recently completed or milestone HTA reports

As HealthPACT is a Horizon Scanning committee, its output consists of a number of Technology Briefs produced three times a year (previously quarterly). These Briefs are a snapshot of a particular technology at a given time, rather than an in-depth HTA report.

  • Atrial fibrillation screening
  • Drug-eluting stents with CD34 antibodies for the treatment of coronary artery disease
  • MRI screening/diagnosis and monitoring for prostate cancer
  • Stem cell transplantation for biologic-resistant Crohn’s disease
  • Renal sympathetic denervation for hypertension – new techniques
  • New and emerging organ perfusion systems
  • Major Report 2014: Orthopaedic Technologies

A list of (selected) current projects

  • Stem cells: non-haematological indications
  • Diabetes technologies: an overview
  • Barricaid prosthesis for partial annulus replacement
  • Fully endoscopic aortic valve replacement
  • Renal Arteriovenous Fistula Technique (Paper clip implant for high blood pressure)
  • Major Report 2015: Intra-operative blood salvage

Future plans

In recent years the focus of HealthPACT has shifted to specifically assessing those technologies that may reduce public hospital, admissions, readmissions, length of stay and patient waiting lists, whilst still maintaining optimal patient care. HealthPACT wishes to align its work plan to best address the needs of the jurisdictions.

Agency Information


Country: Australia & New Zealand
Description of population served: National
Population served (mil): 21.4 (Australia) and 4.5 (New Zealand)
Current HTA budget (mil USD):0.6
Permanent staff: Nil – Funding from AHMAC/HPC is made available on a yearly basis.
Consultants: Three evaluator agencies who conduct work on behalf of HealthPACT
Ongoing TA projects: Variable

Contact Information

Director: Professor Brendon Kearney (Chair)
Contact person: Ms. Linda Mundy

HealthPACT Secretariat
Clinical Access and Redesign Unit
GPO Box 48
BRISBANE Queensland 4000

Tel: +61 7 332 89180
Fax: N/A