Objectives: The aim of this study was to analyze the information needs of Spanish health technology assessment (HTA) agencies and units to facilitate access to the resources they require to substantiate their reports.
Methods: A questionnaire was designed and distributed among HTA bodies to ascertain the actual situation of subscriptions to information resources and what information specialists from these bodies considered would be the ideal subscription situation. Their information needs were then studied, and the resources that best met these needs were put forward. Following this definition, a subscriptions policy was adopted with suppliers and publishers.
Results: The survey showed that HTA bodies share a minimum of core subscriptions that includes open sources (MEDLINE, DARE) and sources that the government subscribes to for the health community (ISI Web of Science, Cochrane Library Plus). There was no common approach to determining which databases to subscribe to (UpToDate, EMBASE, Ovid EBMR, CINAHL, or ECRI). After identifying the information needs, a list of resources was proposed that would best cover these needs and, of these, subscription to the following was proposed: Scopus, Ovid EBMR, Clinical Evidence, DynaMed, ECRI, and Hayes.
Conclusions: There are differences in the way that HTA agencies and units access the different resources of biomedical information. Combined subscription to several resources for documentation services was suggested as a way of resolving these differences.