Maximising the Impact of Health Technology Assessment: The Australian Case

In recent years there has been growing recognition of the need to consider the economic evaluation of health care in Australia. Increasing resources are being devoted to assessment of the costs, risks and benefits of health technologies; and considerable progress has been made in methodological development. However, the relationship between evaluation studies and changes in policy and practice is less clear. The paper explores some of the factors influencing the effectiveness of the links between economic evaluation studies on the one hand and changes in health policy and practice on the other. It is emphasised that mechanisms for encouraging a rational diffusion and use of health technology (and by implication economic evaluation) need to make an impact on (at least) two parallel decision making processes. The first concerns planning decisions about which facilities to provide and which programs or therapies to reimburse or fund, while the second is concerned with clinical decisions about the care to be given to individual patients.

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