Health Technology Assessment (HTA) has gained importance and is emphasized as instrument to guide health policy in rational decisions on resource allocation on health technologies. In 2015 the development of a National HTA strategy in Lithuania was undertaken. It is the intention of this paper to offer generic guidance for similar future initiatives.
A mixed-methods and multi-perspective approach was used to collect data and information: a detailed health care system analysis of the regulative and legislative environment, complemented by international experiences on possible linkages between decision making and HTA, extensive interviews on existing decision making processes and specific system needs for HTA.
The guidance for the development of a National HTA strategy follows a step-wise approach: The first step is the definition of specific strategic objectives that can be operationalized in concrete activities that can be monitored in their implementation. Next – in a detailed system analysis – data and information are collected. The collected information is assessed according to an analytical framework within four areas: assessment of system needs, assessment of potential benefits of and challenges in the utilization of HTA, analysis of human resources and capacities as well as need for training and analysis of options for institutionalization and financing. During the final step concrete activities guided by the pre-defined objectives are planned based on the identified needs.
The implementation of HTA with transparent processes and products may take years. Careful planning, monitoring and eventual adaptation of the National HTA strategy will be needed.