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Journal: International journal of technology assessment in health care

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Coverage decisions are decisions by third party payers about whether and how much to pay for technologies or services, and under what conditions. Given their complexity, a systematic and transparent approach is needed. The DECIDE (Developing and Evaluating Communication Strategies to Support Informed Decisions and Practice Based on Evidence) Project, a GRADE (Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation) Working Group initiative funded by the European Union, has developed GRADE Evidence to Decision (EtD) framework for different types of decisions, including coverage ones.

Concepts: European Union, Evaluation, United Kingdom, Slovakia

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Some countries make considerable effort to involve patients and patient groups in their health technology assessment (HTA) processes; others are only just considering or are yet to consider patient involvement in HTA.

Concepts: Health care provider, Patient, Illness, Technology, Technology assessment

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The adoption of new medical devices and diagnostics is often hampered by lack of published evidence which makes conventional health technology assessment (HTA) difficult. We now have 5 years' experience of the Medical Technologies Advisory Committee of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the United Kingdom, addressing this problem. This committee assesses devices and diagnostics against claims of advantage, to produce guidance on adoption for the health service.

Concepts: Health care, United Kingdom, Technology, Medical technology

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Objectives: The aim of this study was to describe 8-year results from post-implementation surveillance of neuroreflexotherapy (NRT), a health technology proven effective for treating neck and back pain. Methods: Post-implementation surveillance included all patients undergoing NRT across five regions within the Spanish National Health Service (SNHS). Validated methods were used to assess pain, disability, adverse events, use of health resources, and patient satisfaction. Logistic regression models were developed to identify the variables associated with the risk of a pain episode requiring more than one NRT intervention. The number of relapses among discharged patients during the 8-year period was calculated. Results: Between January 1, 2004, and June 30, 2012, 9,023 patients (median age: 53 years), presenting 11,384 subacute (25.2 percent) and chronic (74.8 percent), neck or back pain episodes, were discharged after receiving NRT. Spinal pain improved in 89 percent of cases, 83 percent abandoned drugs, and 0.02 percent required spine surgery. The only adverse event was skin discomfort (8.0 percent of patients). Number of patient complaints was 0, and answers to a standardized questionnaire reflected a high degree of satisfaction (response rate: 76.7 percent). Of the pain episodes, 18.9 percent required more than one NRT intervention; logistic regression models identified the variables associated with this. Over the 8-year period, the proportion of discharged patients referred for treatment due to relapse at the same level for neck, thoracic, and low back pain, was 16.4 percent, 6.5 percent, and 14.5 percent respectively. Conclusions: Post-marketing surveillance for a non-pharmacological technology is feasible within the SNHS. These results support generalizing NRT across the entire SNHS under the current validated application conditions.

Concepts: Health care provider, Regression analysis, Logistic regression, Medicine, Clinical trial, Spinal disc herniation, Low back pain, Illness

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Objectives: The aim of this study was to systematically assess the long-term (≥ 6 months) benefits of epidural steroid injection therapies for patients with low back pain. Methods: We identified randomized controlled trials by database searches up to October 2011 and by additional hand searches without language restrictions. Randomized controlled trials on the effects of epidurals for low back pain with follow-up for at least 6 months were included. Outcomes considered were pain relief, functional improvement in 6 to 12 months after epidural steroid injection treatment and the number of patients who underwent subsequent surgery. Meta-analysis was performed using a random-effects model. Results: Twenty-nine articles were selected. The meta-analysis suggested that a significant treatment effect on pain was noted at 6 months of follow-up (weighted mean difference [WMD], -0.41; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], -0.66 to -0.16), but was no longer statistically significant after adjusting for the baseline pain score (WMD, -0.19; 95 percent CI, -0.61 to 0.24). Epidural steroid injection did not improve back-specific disability more than a placebo or other procedure. Epidural steroid injection did not significantly decrease the number of patients who underwent subsequent surgery compared with a placebo or other treatments (relative risk, 1.02; 95 percent CI, 0.83 to 1.24). Conclusions: A long-term benefit of epidural steroid injections for low back pain was not suggested at 6 months or longer. Introduction of selection bias in the majority of injection studies seems apparent. Baseline adjustment is essential when we evaluate pain as a main outcome of injection therapy.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Low back pain, Back pain, Statistics, Randomized controlled trial, Acupuncture, Effect size, Epidural

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Rotator cuff tear is the leading cause of the decline in quality of life for older adults, but comparative evidence on treatment effectiveness is lacking. This study systematically reviewed the effects of various rotator cuff tear treatments through a Bayesian meta-analysis of the related randomized clinical trials (RCTs).

Concepts: Epidemiology, Clinical trial, Evidence-based medicine, Systematic review, Randomized controlled trial, Effectiveness, Pharmaceutical industry, Rotator cuff

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Economic decision-support tools can provide valuable information for tobacco control stakeholders, but their usability may impact the adoption of such tools. This study aims to illustrate a mixed-method usability evaluation of an economic decision-support tool for tobacco control, using the EQUIPT ROI tool prototype as a case study.

Concepts: Scientific method, Evaluation methods

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Evaluation is crucial for integration of e-Health/m-Health into healthcare systems and health technology assessment (HTA) could offer sound methodological basis for these evaluations. Aim of this study was to look for HTA reports on e-Health/m-Health technologies and to analyze their transparency, consistency and thoroughness, with the goal to detect areas that need improvement.

Concepts: Health economics, Medicine, Healthcare, Evaluation, Technology, Project management, Technology assessment

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Earlier treatment of publicly funded patients may achieve health gains that justify the additional costs of reducing waiting times. This study reports on the cost-effectiveness of implementing a private contracting model to meet alternative maximum waiting time targets for publicly funded patients undergoing total knee replacement surgery in Australia.

Concepts: Orthopedic surgery, Knee replacement, Autologous chondrocyte implantation

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Optional scientific advice (SA) for the early benefit assessment of pharmaceuticals is offered by the German decision maker, the Federal Joint Committee (FJC). The aim of this study was to elicit manufacturers' experiences with the SA procedures offered by the FJC to date.

Concepts: Decision making, European Union, Republic, Germany, German language, Federal republic, Westminster system