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Toward a procedure for integrating moral issues in health technology assessment

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 August 2005

Bjørn Hofmann
University of Oslo and The Norwegian Health Services Research Centre


Objectives: Although ethics has been on the agenda in health technology assessment (HTA) since its inception, the integration of moral issues is still not standard and is performed in a vast variety of ways. Therefore, there is a need for a procedure for integrating moral issues in HTA.

Methods: Literature review of existing approaches together with application of various theories in moral philosophy and axiology.

Results: The article develops a set of questions that addresses a wide range of moral issues related to the assessment and implementation of health technology. The issues include general moral issues and moral issues related to stakeholders, methodology, characteristics of technology, and to the HTA process itself. The questions form a kind of checklist for use in HTAs.

Conclusions: The presented approach for integrating moral issues in HTA has a broad theoretical foundation and has shown to be useful in practice. Integrating ethical issues in HTAs can be of great importance with respect to the dissemination of HTA results and in efficient health policy making.

© 2005 Cambridge University Press

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