Recent recognition of the importance of engaging patients in decisions regarding their own medical care has led decision makers to incorporate patient perspectives in the decision making process. In the province of Quebec, university hospitals have created units for evaluating health technologies and intervention methods (Health Technology Assessment Units, or HTA Units) to meet their evaluation responsibilities and to promote evidence-based decision making. The creation of HTA Units within university hospitals is an opportunity for decision makers to increase the involvement of patients and the general public in decisions about health technologies. This said, little is known about interventions that have succeeded in achieving this. The present project aims at answering the needs of decision makers working in the sector of health technology assessment by exploring ways to involve patients in HTA Unit activities.
To accomplish this objective, the study has three goals:
1. to synthesize international knowledge and experiences of patient involvement in health technology assessment activities;
2. to explore the perceptions of stakeholders (administrators, clinical managers, clinicians, other health professionals, health technology assessors, and patients) regarding strategies that involve patients in the various stages of health technology assessment;
3. to produce a consensual framework that will guide interventions for introducing a patient perspective into health technology assessment activities in HTA Units.
This collaboration between decision makers, HTA experts, and a research team with complementary knowledge will allow participants to identify the best type, degree, and timing of patient involvement for any given HTA activity in an HTA Unit. The framework will be discussed among collaborators from the following bodies: Quebec's agency for the evaluation of health technologies and intervention methods (AETMIS), Quebec's university hospitals, the HTA Unit at McGill University Hospital, the HTA Unit of Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal, patient associations, and the research team.