Objectives: Within French university hospitals, some internal committees are in charge of conducting hospital-based health technology assessment (Hb-HTA) to support managerial decisions regarding the adoption of innovations. For manufacturers, hospitals are usually the entry point for new and innovative medical devices, which cannot be accessed without the Hb-HTA committees' approval. Thus, the main objective of this pilot survey was to explore manufacturers’ insights into Hb-HTA processes.
Methods: A two-step pilot survey was conducted in 2014. First, semi-structured phone interviews were carried out to capture manufacturers' feedback on the Hb-HTA procedure. Second, a prospective and iterative questionnaire designed to explore manufacturers’ market access strategies was administered.
Results: Eight manufacturers from the medical device industry completed the retrospective phone interviews, and five of them participated in the prospective survey. According to the overall feedback, the Hb-HTA process timeline and transparency are major issues, and the expectations of internal committees, especially in terms of clinical evidence, remain difficult to understand. However, despite this and due to the complexity of reimbursement processes at the national level, manufacturers are increasingly considering hospital adoption through Hb-HTA submission as a viable market access and coverage opportunity.
Conclusions: Our study reaffirms the primary role of hospitals in the diffusion of innovative medical devices. However, to ensure efficient and broad access to innovation, cooperation between local and national HTA bodies is critical and should be promoted.