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MedTech
5 minutes read

HTAs in MedTech

By Robert Kazmi
By Robert Kazmi
MedTech
5 minutes read

MedTech apps rely on HTAs to determine their value and efficacy in the marketplace. Determining the value of technologies is important, but it is arguably even more important in the healthcare sector, where lives could be saved or lost.

If you have or are developing a MedTech app, you need to consider the HTA process. Doing so will help ensure the longevity and ultimate success of your application. 

This post will explore HTAs in finer detail. It will cover what an HTA is, why they are important, who does them, and how they can help your MedTech app. 

What are HTAs?

HTA stands for health technology assessment. A health technology assessment thoroughly evaluates a health technology’s effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and social impact on individual patients, society as a whole, and the healthcare system. A big component of health technology assessments is comparing the impact of new health technologies with the presently accepted standard of care. 

The term health technology refers to more than just MedTech apps. Typically, the term health technology can be used to refer to a wide range of technologies associated with health care, including but not limited to:

  • Drugs (over-the-counter or prescription)
  • Medical procedures 
  • Medical devices or equipment 
  • Diagnostic tests 
  • Prevention programs (such as vaccine drives)

The term health technology can be used to cover any technologies that are directly related to providing health care. Therefore, your MedTech app is likely to be considered a health technology. Still, even if it is not, you should familiarize yourself with HTAs because this will help you determine if your app is relevant and useful in the current healthcare system. 

Incorporating information from relevant HTAs during app development can help guide your business and ease the decision-making process. Creating relevant applications with user-centric services is extremely important in all types of app development projects. 

Why are HTAs Important?

The primary purpose of an HTA is to guide decision-making during the crafting of health care policy. The goal is to ensure that the healthcare system widely adopts innovative, cost-effective technologies. Additionally, HTAs help ensure that the industry does not adopt health care technologies with little to no value. 

HTAs are important for many reasons, but the major reasons why this process is important are:

  • Ensuring new health technologies are not adopted until proven effective 
  • Ensuring older health technologies are not abandoned until they are proven ineffective or no longer cost-effective
  • Ensuring the quality of healthcare for everybody 
  • Generating information to guide policy decisions 

Without health technology assessments guaranteeing a standard level of care for patients would be nearly impossible. Instead of adopting technology innovations as a broader healthcare system, individual practices would be more or less left on their own to determine if new medical technologies were viable without the guidance of HTAs.

HTAs are also used to determine which treatments will be reimbursed by insurance, who qualifies for specific treatments, and how long treatment should last. Depending on the country you live in, as we will see in our next section, this aspect of HTAs can vary based on local healthcare policy and laws. 

Who Performs HTAs?

Now that you know how important health technology assessments are, you are likely wondering, who does these assessments? The answer to that question depends on the country you live in. In the United States, for example, there is no public, centralized health technology assessment agency. 

The United States has a decentralized healthcare system. However, policy analysts and scholars argue that despite this fact, the United States healthcare system could still benefit from having a centralized health technology assessment agency. Currently, in the United States, HTAs are handled by private organizations like ICER and IVI

Critics of this decentralized HTA system argue that it would be more cost-effective to have a centralized agency to reduce the amount of duplicate efforts to assess technologies. 

In other countries, such as the United Kingdom, there is a centralized agency that handles the HTA responsibilities for the country. This method works really well in countries with a centralized healthcare system. 

For example, the United Kingdom relies on the National Health Service (NHS) to provide health care for the country. The NHS works closely with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). NICE performs HTAs in the United Kingdom. Their results are easy to implement because the NHS provides all healthcare services.

In countries with public healthcare systems, there is likely a public organization that handles the HTA responsibilities. In countries with private healthcare, HTAs are likely done by private organizations. 

How Can HTAs Help Your MedTech App?

The biggest challenge of app development is creating a digital product that provides value to your target audience. Your organization can use HTAs to help hone your MedTech app, ensure you are compliant with federal regulations like HIPAA, and even improve your app’s UX/UI

Your organization can even review HTA reports from technologies that are related to the service or features you want to include in your MedTech app. Reviewing this information will help your development team see what has worked, what has not worked well in the industry, and areas of opportunity within the healthcare system that you could innovate for. 

When it comes to developing custom software, knowledge of the consumer market and the current industry landscape are invaluable. An HTA can help your business determine the economic value of your idea.

Final Thoughts 

Developing a MedTech app comes with the added responsibility of providing users with medical data or information that could have a big impact on their life. You don’t have to go it alone. Speak with an app development partner. A partner can help guide you through the entire development process with their industry experience and technical expertise.

A partner can also help you learn more about using HTAs to make strategic product decisions based on market conditions and consumer needs.

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