Tarricone, R., Amatucci, F., Armeni, P., Banks, H., Borsoi, L., Callea, G., … & Marletta, M. (2021). Establishing a national HTA program for medical devices in Italy: Overhauling a fragmented system to ensure value and equal access to new medical technologies. Health Policy, 125(5), 602-608.
Differing contexts have greatly influenced HTA development in various countries, with considerable effort recently made by international HTA networks (e.g., EUnetHTA) and the European Union (EU) to make HTA a more coherent, equal, and efficient process. Medical devices (MDs) present particular challenges for HTA because of frequent, rapid innovation, outcomes influenced by end-user competence, dynamic pricing and often low-quality scientific evidence. Our objective is to describe the development, structure and governance of a National HTA Program for MDs (PNHTADM) in Italy, a highly participatory, stakeholder-engaged, evidence-based process to reform a fragmented system of appraisal and approval. Based largely on EUnetHTA methods, the resulting process delineates a standardized system for proposing MDs by any stakeholders, accrediting HTA producers, setting criteria for prioritization and appraisals, and innovatively linking recommendations with coverage, reimbursement and procurement of MDs. Expected benefits include reduced disparities in pricing and reimbursement policies and improved access to new technologies across 21 regional healthcare systems in Italy’s decentralized, universal system, complete with provisions to require additional evidence collection and centrally monitor diffusion. Though devised for Italy, the design, resources and underlying analysis provide a framework for other nations seeking to consolidate HTA initiatives, particularly in light of new EU regulation.