A key part of our work at Health Technology Wales (HTW) is the appraisal of non-medicine health technologies; this is also known as health technology assessment (HTA). We research and evaluate the best available clinical and cost-effectiveness evidence about a health technology. Based on this evidence, we publish guidance on whether the health technology should be adopted for use in Wales.
Suggesting a topic
We actively seek topic suggestions from within the NHS and care service providers, but anyone can suggest a health technology topic for us to consider through our online topic proposal form. See our reports and guidance for examples of previous topics we have received.
If the suggested topic is not relevant for appraisal, we direct the person who submitted the form (the topic proposer) to appropriate organisations that can support or develop their topic, via our Signposting Group.
If a suggested topic is within our remit, we will then look at whether there is enough available evidence to do an appraisal and whether the topic meets our appraisal selection criteria. These considerations are outlined in a Topic Exploration Report. This report is taken to the HTW Assessment Group, and the topic proposer is invited to present. If the Assessment Group decide that the topic is appropriate and meets our selection criteria, it is added to the HTW appraisal work programme.
All Topic Explorations are published on our website, under Reports & Guidance, outlining the reasons for accepting or rejecting a topic for the HTW work programme.
Assessing the evidence
We collaborate with the topic proposer and experts to develop a protocol for the topic. The protocol covers what is known about the topic so far, the technology assessment question that we want to answer and the criteria for selecting studies to include in the appraisal.
Using the protocol, we complete a rapid review (and any other investigations that are needed) of the available evidence. We assess the evidence and draft an Evidence Appraisal Report (EAR). The draft EAR is reviewed by experts and the HTW Assessment Group before finalising.
The HTW Appraisal Panel appraises the evidence within the EAR and make sure that the implications for NHS Wales have been properly considered. The panel includes senior representation from all Welsh boards, with delegated authority to issue HTW Guidance. The guidance summarises key evidence and implications for the health technology in Wales.
Once finalised, the EAR and guidance are published on the HTW website and sent out to key stakeholders working within NHS Wales and the broader care sector. We also share our publications through our social media channels and quarterly newsletters.