2023 ISPOR Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Roundtable – Asia Pacific

Published Nov 2, 2023

On 8 March 2023, ISPOR virtually held the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Roundtable – Asia Pacific. 32 attendees from 13 different Asia Pacific countries or jurisdictions met to discuss "the role of HTA in digital healthcare transformations and technologies".

ISPOR has been convening annual Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Roundtables since 2007 with Roundtables now held in Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, Middle East and Africa, and North America. These Roundtables are closed-door, invitation only meetings between HTA bodies, public and private payers, other governmental decision makers, and academics when no HTA body exists in a country. They provide an unbiased platform to advance scientific methods, facilitate information-sharing about the current state of HTA, its development, and its role in optimizing healthcare decisions; and bridge the gap between technology assessors, private and public payers, regulators, and patients to improve health globally.

The HTA Roundtable in Asia Pacific is comprised of HTA bodies (including committees), national insurance organizations, the World Health Organization regional offices in the Asia Pacific region, and academics when no HTA body exists in a country. The organizations in attendance are involved in the access to, pricing of, and reimbursement of healthcare technologies, as well as health system strengthening in Asia Pacific.

Prior to the Roundtable start, a survey was sent to all participants asking about the status of HTA of digital health therapies (DHTs) in their country or jurisdiction. Eight people responded and all respondents do not have a framework to assess digital health technologies; one country/region is in the process of developing a framework and another is in the process of adapting the NICE framework.

The HTA Roundtable – Asia Pacific had 3 presentations, one from the CEO of CureApp from Japan, presenting on the differences of cost-effectiveness for DHTs versus pharmaceuticals, one from South Korea on their experience assessing DHTs, and finally a presentation from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) on their Evidence Standards Framework, which includes DHTs in its framework.

Participants were then divided into 3 breakout groups to discuss the challenges and opportunities of HTA for DHTs. A main theme that emerged in all breakout groups as a challenge was the topic of health equity. For example, smoking cessation apps are very helpful, but the Māori female population have the highest rate of smoking in the world, yet this population will never have access to smoking cessation apps due to their culture. Other issues also include remote islands without internet connectivity which is often required for DHT use. Questions about the implementation costs of DHTs were also raised, as some cost hundreds of thousands of US Dollars to implement; how are these costs included into an HTA? Staff capacity was also acknowledged as a challenge because many staff who are brought in to work on DHTs have a biomedical engineering or information technology background and not a background in economics or HTA. There is a large need for HTA and economic evaluation training in the region.

Opportunities to assessing DHTs were all related to evidence and experience sharing. It was asked for more case studies on how DHTs were assessed and information sharing among the region. In addition to cross-border or cross-regional information sharing, requests were made for more information sharing among regulators, HTA bodies, payers, and digital health technology developers. Sharing of information and evidence will lead to better decision making for patients in the end.

The roundtable was chaired by Dr. Izzuna Mudla Mohamed Ghazali of Malaysia and a webinar focusing on its content took place in June 2023. You can watch the webinar here.
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