IACS – Health Sciences Institute in Aragon
— Sandra García Armesto, Executive Director
History & Mission
The Aragon Health Sciences Institute (IACS) was created in 2002 by the Aragon Health Act (Law 6/2002, of April 15) as an independent public entity under the umbrella of the Regional Department of Health.
The Institute organises its activity in two areas: Knowledge transfer and Research, development and innovation. The IACS governing bodies are:
- The Board of Directors (representing the heads of the regional departments of Health and Research, science and innovation, head of the Regional Health Service and the Zaragoza University rector).
- The Board of Directors’ Chairman (the Regional Department of Health).
- The Executive Director.
As part of the first line of work (Knowledge transfer and Research), IACS has a department of Evidence Based Decision Making (EBDM) that holds its responsibility as HTA agency for the Regional Government as well as Aragon node of the Spanish Network of HTA Agencies. In addition, the Institute holds the secretary of the national clearing house of clinical practice guidelines (GuiaSalud), coordinating the development, dissemination and adoption of evidence based products for the Spanish national health system.
Regarding the research, development and innovation responsibilities, IACS supports stable research and innovation groups in the areas of clinical and translational medical research, bioengineering, public health, health systems and policy research, organizational change and innovation (living labs, ideas exchange platform, public procurement of innovation, patents office… ). In addition, IACS is the regional authority for authorizing and monitoring (private and public) randomized control trials as well as post authorization observational studies for drugs and devices.
The IACS mission is to promote research, innovation and knowledge brokering in biomedicine and health sciences for the Aragon Health System. In this context, we aim to improve the quality, safety and sustainability of the Health Care System and support the decision-making process by providing HTA and evidence based products.
How IACS Works
The IACS EBDM department develops HTA reports and provides consultancy related to health technologies and clinical management to the regional and national health systems. The role is purely advisory, in the sense that HTA is embedded by law in the management of the mandatory national common benefits basket, but the recommendations provided are not abiding. The same is true at the regional level regarding the specific regional basket (the national common basket plus additional regional benefits). As such the IACS mandate involves:
- Production of health technology assessments and appraisals. The reports are targeted to the final user and the nature of the question.
- Development of strategic clinical practice guidelines.
- Methodological support, coordination and training on developing HTA and evidence based products.
- Contribution to the methodological working groups within the Spanish HTA network aimed to harmonize and further advance our shared work programme.
- Design and coordination of health services assessments and health technology use and adoption studies.
- Development and maintenance of the digital health sciences library.
IACS produces HTA reports (in Spanish but including an English abstract) that are publicly available on the website of the Spanish Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessment and NHS benefits: http://www.redets.msssi.gob.es/productos/buscarProductos.do?metodo=buscaTipos&tipoId=1
Other evidence based products (including CPGs) are available at GuiaSalud portal: http://portal.guiasalud.es/web/guest/home
These products are also diffused by our account on Twitter (@iacs_aragon), IACS Newsletter and by our website (www.iacs.aragon.es).
HTA reports being developed:
- Treatment of the congenital interventricular communication by percutaneous devices.
- Determination of pre-eclampsia biomarkers (SFlt-1 and PlGF).
- Magnetic tracer for identifying the sentinel lymph node in breast cancer (SentiMag/SiennaXP).
Clinical practice guidelines being developed:
- Clinical practice guideline for pediatric palliative care.
- Clinical practice guideline for hormonal and intrauterine contraception.
- Clinical practice guideline for prostate cancer treatment.
- To develop the regional network for emerging technology scanning.
- To develop HTA training for patients.
- To increase the dissemination of HTA products to health professionals and patients.
- To increase our collaboration with local, regional, national and international HTA organizations.
- To improve the format of HTA products for a friendlier use.
- To improve the implementation of “not to do” recommendations in the Spanish National Health System.
Description of population served: Aragon Region
Population served (mil): 1.308
Current HTA budget (mil USD): 12.4 million euros. EBDM department: 950 thousand euros
Permanent staff: 130
Ongoing TA projects: 10
Executive Director: Sandra García Armesto
Contact persons: María Pilar Calvo Pérez
María Pilar Calvo Pérez Centro de Investigación Biomédica de Aragón (CIBA)
Avda. San Juan Bosco, 13, planta 2