International Fellowship on Health Technology Assessment (HTA)
The second International Fellowship on Health Technology Assessment in India' was held at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS), Kochi from September 16–20, 2014. The main objective of the fellowship was to impart practical knowledge to the participants on how to report decision-making on healthcare technologies and health system interventions with multidisciplinary and evidence-based assessment approach. AIMS has been a pioneer in capacity building in evidence-based policy analysis widely known as “HTA-” that has successfully trained over 150 research fellows in the same research domain. This course was held in joint technical collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO), National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare (NABH), – a certified accreditation body of Quality Council of India (QCI) and Anglia Ruskin University, UK.
Ninety-two participants from both public and private sectors, including the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and WHO, attended this 5-day fellowship. Participants from various academic and professional healthcare domains, especially from healthcare administration, bio-sciences, regulatory affairs and traditional medical research were integrated into this course.
The course was designed to have the following day-specific themes:
- Introduction of the need of HTA
- Applied evidence-based research methodologies in public health and hospitals
- Evidence synthesis and its contextual application to inform policy decisions
- Health Economics.
- Medical Technology policy assessments, ethical and social dimensions and case-studies on HTA on drugs, devices, bio-pharmaceuticals and health system interventions.
The faculty members included experts from various renowned organizations such as Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, World Bank, AIMS-Kochi, AIIMS-New Delhi, South Asian Cochrane Network, CMC Vellore, Public Health Foundation of India-New Delhi and Anglia Ruskin University, UK.
The course had two unique aspects: importance of domain-wise discussion and practical outcomes from self-learning breakout sessions. On the first day, during the pre-inauguration induction session, the domain specific opportunities and benefits were discussed. This helped participants to understand evidence-based policy assessment’s utility and applications from their own respective domain-specific perspective, i.e., doctors, nurses, health administrators, students, pharmaceutical, clinical research and medical device industry professionals.
On Day 4, a typical self-learning session with group assignments was scheduled where all participants were divided into 4 different groups with each group facilitated by a dedicated moderator. The group assignment included sample HTA proposal development, applied questions-based articles on various public health research methods on same research problem- i.e. exploration of risk associated with mobile phone use and cancer, economic evaluation exercises and hands-on training on evidence synthesis from homogeneous and heterogeneous articles. The idea behind this assignment was to make participants understand the lessons taught during -the previous 3 days.
All participants were provided with a soft-copy of course material for future reference. Participants’ feedback regarding faculty’s performance, group assignment and overall course quality was solicited. With overall positive feedback, it was realized that the novel concept of practical outcomes oriented group assignment was warmly welcomed and endorsed unanimously. For interested candidates/groups, project-wise consultative guidance was provided during the networking break and on the last day, after scheduled sessions. The 5-day capacity building event successfully ended with certificate distribution to all the participants.