The importance of Health Technologies Assessment

Health System Challenges

The increase of life expectancy rates and, as a result, having an elderly population with most of them having chronic/degenerative diseases has required an update in the health field with better diagnosis, prevention and diseases treatment.  Although, this field is always suffering with not having  enough resources. That’s why it is important that before making any decision there will be a detailed assessment of costs created and benefits to the patients and health system.

Health Economics

Apparently, this scenario brought together two very different fields:Health and economics, and with both together we have Health Economics, a subject which is already part of many courses related to the topic and to the health system in general.

While Health Economics is technically new in Brazil, it has shown itself essential to help the manager of the field to assess the best way to dispose the available resources, trying to make the clinical, the economical and the humanistic result better.

Many concepts and techniques of economics are already been used to solve problems that daily affect the health system. In a pragmatic way, to answer if a new medication or equipment should or shouldn’t be incorporated to health system, we need to know if its global cost is worth the gains it provides us.

Health Economics in the Health Technologies Assessment

As we can see, the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) is the process of investigation of clinical, economical and social results of the use of technology in the health field, such as medicines, equipments, systems and procedures and through them the service of health is provided. Its goal is to analyze the clinical, social, ethical and economical implications of the development, the propagation and the use of technology in health.

Through the technical subsidies given from the Health Economics, the HTA makes viable the analysis of clinical aspects considered by economical aspects of a technology.

This way, the paradigm of making decisions in health based just in expenses is broken — having financial economy as the main goal — or just in clinical aspects — making impracticable the health system sustainability.

Economy as a decision guide

Economy studies have big importance to health management. The data resulted from these study fields give us information about the efficiency and the costs of health technologies, besides exploring financing ways and subsidies to access the market.

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