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Health technology assessment in England and Wales

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 April 2004

Andrew Stevens
University of Birmingham
Ruairidh Milne
University of Southampton


In this study, we describe the current state of the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) system in England and Wales. This system rests on a distinction between assessment and appraisal and has three main strands: researcher-led HTA, the research and development program, and the HTA-NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) process. We outline the pressures for HTA and how it has evolved in the British National Health Service. We discuss how HTA priorities are chosen, how HTA information is collected and assessed, how HTA evidence is used, and we make some observations about its impact. In our discussion, we consider some limitations of the HTA system, its possible divergence from evidence-based health care, its centralization, and some of the key challenges for managing HTA-driven policy. But we remain hopeful that HTA can contribute to better and more explicit decision-making within England and Wales.

Research Article
© 2004 Cambridge University Press

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