Social scientists have paid increasing attention to health technology assessment (HTA). This paper provides an overview of existing social scientific literature on HTA, with a focus on sociology and political science and their subfields.
Narrative review of key pieces in English.
Three broad themes recur in the emerging social science literature on HTA: the drivers of the establishment and concrete institutional designs of HTA bodies; the effects of institutionalized HTA on pricing and reimbursement systems and the broader society; and the social and political influences on HTA decisions.
Social scientists bring a focus on institutions and social actors involved in HTA, using primarily small-N research designs and qualitative methods. They provide valuable critical perspectives on HTA, at times challenging its otherwise unquestioned assumptions. However, they often leave aside questions important to the HTA practitioner community, including the role of culture and values. Closer collaboration could be beneficial to tackle new relevant questions pertaining to HTA.