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International Links - Health Technology Assessment Organisations

Health Technology Assessment Organisations

This ScHARR compilation page lists the primary international sites involved in Health Technology Assessment activities.

Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences

The Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Ontario (ICES) is a non-profit research organization dedicated to conducting research that contributes to the effectiveness, quality and efficiency of health care in the province of Ontario. It produces the newsletter informed for physicians.

MRC Clinical Trials Unit

The Medical Research Council (UK) Clinical Trials Web site includes the MRC's role in trials, how to apply for funding, guidelines on good clinical practice in trials and a directory of current trials.

National Guideline Clearinghouse (U.S.)

The National Guideline Clearinghouse (NGC) is a comprehensive database of evidence based clinical practice guidelines and related documents produced by the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR), in partnership with the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Association of Health Plans (AAHP). The NGC mission is to provide physicians, nurses, and other health professionals, health care providers, health plans, integrated delivery systems, purchasers and others an accessible mechanism for obtaining objective, detailed information on clinical practice guidelines and to further their dissemination, implementation and use. Key components of NGC include: Structured abstracts (summaries) about the guideline and its development; a utility for comparing attributes of two or more guidelines in a side-by-side comparison; syntheses of guidelines covering similar topics, highlighting areas of similarity and difference; links to full-text guidelines, where available, and/or ordering information for print copies; an electronic forum for exchanging information on clinical practice guidelines, their development, implementation and use; annotated bibliographies on guideline development methodology, implementation, and use.

National Institute for Clinical Excellence

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (the Institute) is a Special Health Authority which will work with the NHS, the Institute will systematically appraise health interventions. It will offer clinicians and managers clear guidance on which treatments work best for patients and which do not. This guidance will support everyone in the NHS including doctors, nurses, midwives and other health professionals - those who make the complex decisions about the treatment of individual patients. Guidance will also be available for patients and the public.

National Pathways Association

The National Pathways Association (NPA) exists to promote the development and use of Pathways nationally. It was formed in the early 1990's out of the local networks of Pathway Users around the UK. As the organisation has grown, the membership has expanded across the many organisations and individuals who are interested in the development and use of Pathways. The group is multi-disciplinary and multi-professional, and includes healthcare individuals across the independent, private and public sectors. The NPA has an advisory role to central government and is a key player in the development and promotion of the new quality agenda. The NPA website is open to both NPA members and non-members. However, access to certain pages is restricted by password to members only.

The National Training and Research Appraisal Group

Established in 1993 the National Training and Research Appraisal Group (NTRAG) is a research and evidence-based healthcare education and training consultancy. Based at the University of North London NTRAG consists of a small core staff who co-ordinate a pool of over thirty tutors.

The Northern and Yorkshire Evidence-Based Practice Group

This group came together after having tutored individually in previous EBP workshops at Oxford, London and Wales, and organised the successful Workshop in 1999.

Occupational Therapy Evidence Based Practice Research Group

The McMaster Occupational Therapy Evidence-based Practice group focuses on researchto critically review evidence regarding the effectiveness of occupational therapy interventions and to develop tools for evaluation of occupational therapy programmes They have produced review forms and guidelines for quantitative and qualitative articles, available to download in Acrobat pdf format (Quantitative review form; Quantitative review guidelines; Qualitative review form ; Qualitative review guidelines). They have also completed two systematic reviews on the effect of activity-based interventions for older persons with dementia and the effect of cognitive-behavioural interventions for persons with chronic pain.

Office of Technology Assessment

Although the remit of the U.S. based Office of Technology Assessment is much broader than just healthcare they do produce a number of useful reports; including the report "Identifying Health Technologies that Work". The full text of their reports is available from this site.

Odontolog?a Basada la Evidencia Spanish Evidence Based Dentistry site.

R&D Strategy pages

Most of these pages deal with the mechanics of the strategy but many practitioners will be interested in research per se and will want to keep up to date with the NHS strategy. There are now several home pages. They include a Department of Health R&D Strategy Home Page
All the Regional Offices have committed to having a Regional home page. So far there are six:

Anglia and Oxford

Northern and Yorkshire

North Thames

South and West


West Midlands


RAND Corporation

RAND is a US-based nonprofit institution that aims to improve public policy throughresearch and analysis. RAND aims to carry out high-quality, objective research addressing problems of domestic policy including health care. RAND has been studying health care issues for more than thirty years. Today, RAND conducts one of the largest private, nonprofit programs of health policy research and analysis in the world. They publish numerous reports and other documents in areas of health care technology assessment.

School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) ScHARR

The School of Health And Related Research (ScHARR) is a health services research department within the University of Sheffield which is involved in finding the evidence (expertise in literature searching); appraising the evidence (critical appraisal training) and producing the evidence (systematic reviews). The Information Resources Section of ScHARR produced a retrospective bibliography and resource guide entitled "The ScHARR Guide to Evidence Based Practice" (1997). 

Scottish Health Purchasing Information Centre (SHPIC)

SHPIC was set up by the NHS Management Executive to carry out effectiveness and cost benefit studies on health service interventions, and to produce concise reports for purchasers. The full text of their current publications is available from this site.

Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN)

The Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) develops and publishes evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for use by the health service in Scotland. Full text of many of their guidelines is available from their site. You will however require an Acrobat Reader.

Swedish Council on Technology Assessment in Health Care (SBU)

SBU's task is to evaluate methods used within health care and to look critically at their costs, their risks and their benefits. SBU assesses the medical, ethical, social and economic impact of new and established medical procedures.

Trent Working Group on Acute Purchasing

The Trent Working Group on Acute Purchasing was set up to enable purchasers to shareresearch knowledge about the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of acute service interventions and determine collectively their purchasing policy. The Group is facilitated by The School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), part of the Trent Institute for Health Services Research. A list of work in progress and current publications is available at this site.

UK Clearing House on Health Outcomes

The UK Clearing House on Health Outcomes, based within the Nuffield Institute for Health at the University of Leeds, aims: to develop approaches to outcomes assessment within routine health care practice and to promote the role of health outcomes within decision making in health care commissioning and provision. They have two databases available on the WWW; the other being an Outcomes Activities Database containing a wide range of outcomes related projects. This forms the basis for networking people working in similar areas or using similar measures.

Other outcomes sites of potential interest include:

  • CBO Health Care Outcomes Programme ECCHO
  • Dutch Outcomes Database
  • German Outcomes database
  • Greek Outcomes Database
  • Irish Outcomes Database
  • Nordic Outcomes Database
  • Portugese Outcomes Database
  • wiss Outcomes Database

Unit for Evidence Based Practice and Policy (UEBPP)

The UEBPP is a 'virtual' subunit of the Joint Department of Primary Care and Population Sciences (PCPS) of the merged medical schools of University College London and the Royal Free Hospital. Their web page is maintained by Dr Trisha Greenhalgh, and describes the work of a number of key staff at PCPS who undertake work in evidence-based health.

Wessex Institute for Health Research and Development

The Wessex Institute aims to provide the highest quality research and intelligence, education and training and innovation and development services. It aims to help the NHS to secure the strongest possible knowledge base for improving the health of the population.

West Midlands Development & Evaluation Services

West Midlands Development & Evaluation Service (DES) is a research academic unit in the Department of Public Health & Epidemiology, University of Birmingham. It produces systematic reviews for NHS R&D HTA programme, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), and for the West Midlands region. West Midlands DES is also conducting methodological research on health technology assessment, and provides training in systematic reviews and health technology assessment.

West Midlands Health Technology Assessment Collaboration (formerly InterTASC)

The West Midlands Health Technology Assessment Collaboration (WMHTAC) is an organisation involving several universities and academic groups who collaboratively produce health technology assessments and systematic reviews. They produce systematic reviews and economic evaluations for NHS R&D HTA programme (NCCHTA), the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), and for the health service in the West Midlands. WMHTAC also undertakes methodological research on health technology assessment, and provides training in systematic reviews and health technology assessment.


WISDOM is a pilot project based at the University of Sheffield and funded by the National Health Service Executive to create an on-line environment, using the Internet to train primary care professionals in informatics. At the heart of the project is a discussion group: this web site supports the group and offers information resources and background to the project. Evidence Based Practice is one of the focus areas for the project (Practice because it targets all members of the Primary Health Care Team). Several tutorials, originally distributed by e-mail but now deposited in the project archive, cover aspects of evidence based practice.

Tutorials to date cover:

  • Evidence based practice 1: An Introduction to Evidence-Based Practice
  • Evidence based practice 2: The basic stages in EBP and how to get started.
  • Evidence based practice 3: A little bit about databases...
  • Evidence based practice 4: Running a literature search
  • Evidence based practice 5: How to Evaluate the Evidence
  • Evidence based Practice 6: From Evidence to Practice
  • Second series - EBP Seminar 1: Finding Useful Web Sites
  • Second series - EBP Seminar 2: Critical Appraisal
  • Second series - EBP Seminar 3: Relative & Absolute Risk Interpretation
  • Second series - EBP Seminar 4: Clinical Governance: An Introduction


Important Links