AQuAS – Agència de Qualitat i Avaluació Sanitàries de Catalunya

Catalan_flag  Barcelona, Spain

"Any healthcare system that wants to improve its efficiency should spread the culture of evaluation."
 – Dr. Joan Escarrabill, Director, AQuAS

History and Structure

AQuAS (in English: the Catalan Agency for Health Information, Assessment and Quality (CAHIAQ)) was created in June 2010, as a successor of the former Catalan Agency for Health Technology Assessment and Research (CAHTA) that was working since 1991. AQuAS is a non-profit public agency of the Catalan Health Ministry. AQuAS' structure consists of an Executive Board, a Scientific Advisory Committee, a Chief Executive Officer, and a multidisciplinary technical staff.


The AQuAS has now the mission of generating relevant knowledge to contribute to the improvement of the quality, safety and sustainability of the Catalan Health Care System and thus easing the decision-making process for citizens and health care managers and professionals.

The AQuAS will continue to perform its traditional responsibilities in health technology assessment and in health care evaluation services area, as well as managing calls for research.

In addition to this, new responsibilities have been taken in quality assessment and, especially, assuming the strategic projects in Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) led by the Catalan Health Ministry, such as the Shared Electronic Medical Record of Catalonia, the Personal Health Folder, Electronic Prescription, Telemedicine, and the Plan for Digital Medical Imaging.

How AQuAS works

AQuAS combines different study methodologies in its assessments. Primary data, secondary data, and data synthesis may be included in the process.

The activities of the AQuAS – at request and by own initiative – take place within the public Catalan healthcare system, industry, insurance companies, research units, and users in Catalonia, Spain, and abroad.

AQuAS is also a collaborating center of the World Health Organization (WHO), developing various support tasks on HTA and promoting use of proper health technologies.

AQuAS has also an active participation in making and coordinating groups for developing evidence-based clinical practice guidelines.

Drugs evaluation is an emerging field for AQuAS . With the aim of generating evidence-based information regarding with high complexity drug treatments, AQuAS is coordinating a Committee for Assessment of Hospital Use Drugs as well as promoting methodological support and experience to carry out drugs assessment. In addition, AQuAS is also collaborating with international groups such as The European group on Relative-Effectiveness Assessment (REA) of Pharmaceuticals, as a part of the Joint Action on Health Technology Assessment initiative (2010-2012).

Dissemination Activities

A quarterly newsletter, assessment reports, scientific journal articles, a collection of report abstracts are published in Catalan and Spanish and including English abstracts.

Current Projects (A Selection)

  • Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Cost effectiveness of preventive treatment for fragility fracture
  • Telestroke: economic evaluation
  • Bibliographic impact of reports and scientific papers written by the Spanish health technology assessment agencies and units
  • Positron emission tomography in Catalonia: prioritising adequate indications
  • Priorisation of surgical waiting lists
  • Indicators of efficiency in the use of operating rooms

Future Plans

  • To foster the alliance and collaboration of other organizations to improve the quality of the health care services.
  • To support and encourage developing clinical practice guidelines groups and determining its audit and implementation as a result of transferring the scientific knowledge into the clinical practice.
  • To develop HTA information for patients

Agency Information


Country: Spain
Description of population served: Catalonia Region
Population served (mil): 7
Current HTA budget (mil USD): 2.4
Permanent staff: 54
Consultants: 150
Ongoing TA projects: 11

Contact Information

Director: Dr. Joan Escarrabill
Contact person: Ms Dr Cari Almazán

Agència de Qualitat i Avaluació Sanitàries de Catalunya
Carrer de Roc Boronat, 81-95 (2a planta)
ES-08005 Barcelona Spain

Tel: +34 93 551 3888
Fax: +34 93 551 7510