Frequently Asked Questions

What is the HTAi Policy Forum?

The HTAi Policy Forum (the Forum) provides a unique opportunity for senior people from public and private sector organisations with strategic interests in health technology assessment (HTA) and health system decision-making to meet one another, members of the HTAi Board and invited international experts for strategic discussions about the present state of HTA, its development and implications for health systems and policy. The aim of the Forum is to provide leadership by debating key and emerging issues in HTA between, on the one hand, those leading HTA and coverage systems and, on the other, industry, taking account of the perspectives of patients, clinicians, and the public.

The Forum holds one main discussion meeting and one shorter meeting each year. The main Forum meeting is usually held in late January each year, alternating locations between Europe and North America. It usually runs from the last Sunday in January through to lunch time on the following Tuesday. Often, the meeting opens with an introduction to, and/or keynote presentation on the meeting topic. Monday is given over to a full day of discussion of the key issues. Tuesday comprises a morning meeting session typically bringing together the strands from the previous two days and focusing on suggested next steps. Receptions and dinner on the Sunday and Monday evenings, and other meal and refreshment breaks, allow attendees to make and renew acquaintanceships and to network informally. The meeting agenda includes a number of formal presentations but these are generally kept short to allow maximum time for roundtable discussions, plenary debate and smaller break-out group sessions or workshops to address key issues and promote the free exchange of ideas.

A further, shorter Forum meeting is usually held the day before the HTAi Annual Meeting at the same venue. This meeting is given over to strategic discussion of the Forum and its activities, and to a scoping discussion for the topic selected for discussion at the next main meeting. This meeting also allows further informal networking among Forum members.

All meetings of the Forum operate under the Chatham House Rule[1]. The aim is to provide an environment where leaders from public and private sector organisations can engage in strategic discussions informed by the perspectives of their different organisations and experiences but freed from the constraints of formal policy positions and the tensions that may arise in discussions to inform decisions on specific products.

Prior to the main Forum meeting, attendees are provided with a briefing pack that usually includes a background paper, a detailed agenda for the meeting and a summary of the issues to be discussed. This material is developed in discussion with Forum members, drawing on the ideas discussed at the scoping meeting.

Since 2007, the Forum has published a paper each year summarizing the key ideas and main points discussed at its main meeting, to advance the science and application of HTA, and to stimulate further debate in the wider HTA and health policy community. These papers are publicly available on open access on the HTAi website (http://www.htai.org/) or through usual online search facilities.

The Forum and its members undertake a range of other activities to increase the Forum’s reach and impact. These include leadership of Panel Sessions and contributions to Plenary Sessions relating to Forum discussions at the HTAi Annual Meeting; engagement with colleagues in the Latin America and Asia Policy Fora supported by HTAi; and, presentations at a number of other leading international meetings, national and regional discussions.

The Policy Forum is led by the Policy Forum Chair who is appointed by the HTAi Board and serves a three-year term. The Policy Forum Chair is an ex officio member of the HTAi Board and the International Scientific Programme Committee for the HTAi Annual Scientific Meetings during their term.

The Policy Forum is supported by a Committee that advises on the development of the Forum and the content of its meetings. Members of the Forum are invited by the Chair to join the committee and appointments are approved by HTAi Board. The Committee is chaired by the Policy Forum Chair and contains a balance of not-for-profit and for-profit members as well as the Scientific Secretary, representatives from HTAi, and the Policy Forum Secretariat.

Scientific Secretariat Support to the HTAi Policy Forum, the Policy Forum Committee and the Policy Forum Chair and Scientific Secretary is provided by a team based at The Wessex Institute, University of Southampton, and further specific expertise contracted in as necessary to support specific meetings or other activities.

 

Who can join the HTAi Policy Forum, how do they apply and how are applications considered?

The Forum promotes discussion of key and emerging issues in HTA between those leading HTA and coverage systems and industry, taking account of the perspectives of patients, clinicians, and the public.

Membership of the Forum is therefore open to organisations (not individuals) that meet the following membership criteria (a-d):

a. Either:

i. Organisations with formal responsibilities within a health care system to make HTA-based decisions or provide HTA-based advice on coverage or pricing of treatments – whether based on HTA conducted in-house or by others. Note that in systems, countries or regions where formal organisations of this kind do not exist, or they exist but are not prepared or able to apply to be Forum members, other organisations actively involved in advising on these areas may be considered for membership.

ii. Manufacturers of drugs, diagnostics and/or devices that are committed to and have experience of conducting HTA and using HTA evidence to support proposals for the use of their products around the world.

b. Prepared to send appropriately senior and experienced staff from their organisation to join Policy Forum meetings, and to contribute actively to discussions at meetings and by email in preparations for and follow up from meetings.

c. Organisational Members of HTAi

d. Prepared to commit in advance to joining for an initial period of three years to promote continuity in Forum membership and discussions (membership renewals are annual thereafter).

The HTAi Board issues calls for Expressions of Interest (EOIs) in Forum membership from time to time. Calls for EOI may be open, or may focus on specific types of organisation (e.g. not-for-profit/for-profit) to help to ensure an appropriate balance in the overall membership of the Forum.

The HTAi Board believes that the success of the Forum depends on careful management of the numbers of people attending meetings so that truly interactive discussions can take place.

The Policy Forum Committee reviews all EOIs carefully and at the same time reviews the ongoing level of participation of existing Forum members. Existing members who are not participating fully are asked to withdraw to make way for new organisations. EOIs are then prioritised for the places available according to:

  • The criteria a to d above.
  • The overall balance of Forum membership between technology sectors and not-for-profit/for-profit organizations.
  • Final decisions on membership are made by the HTAi Executive Committee of the HTAi Board, on behalf of the Board and reflecting on the advice of the Policy Forum Committee.

 

What are the benefits of membership of the HTAi Policy Forum?

The benefits of Forum membership to an organisation include:

  •  The opportunity to send up to two senior staff members to Forum meetings to network and build relationships in an informal and constructive environment with senior staff from other organisations with interests in HTA, both similar to and different from their own;
  •  The opportunity to debate HTA and policy decision making issues with senior figures from health care, industry, HTA agencies, and regulatory and other bodies;
  • The opportunity to learn about the present state of, and likely developments in, HTA in relation to decision making and to consider the implications of these developments;
  • The opportunity to meet HTAi Board Members and to discuss with them the future of HTAi and the services the Society offers;
  • Recognition on the HTAi website and in publications of the member organisation’s strategic relationship with, and support for, HTAi; and,
  • All the benefits of organisational membership in HTAi.

The benefits of the Forum to HTAi include:

  • The opportunity for the HTAi Board to get to know and work with senior figures in key HTA constituencies so as better to understand their perspectives on HTA and HTAi;
  •  The opportunity for the HTAi Board to know more about the point of view of producers of technologies related to specific topics and to debate them in a neutral environment;
  •  The opportunity to discuss the future work of HTAi with these key constituencies;
  • The opportunity to transfer the key strategic and advanced cutting-edge knowledge generated as a result of the meeting to all HTAi members (through a panel during the Annual Meeting and the paper in the Journal of the Society); and,
  •  Income to support the Forum and other activities and services that HTAi provides to its membership.

 

What are members of the HTAi Policy Forum asked to contribute?

Members of the Forum are asked to make a contribution to the operational costs of the Forum and of other work of HTAi within the HTA community around the world. The contributions requested reflect the ability of different categories of organisations to contribute.

As from 2016-17, member organisations that are not-for-profit are expected to contribute $2,500 (USD), and for-profit members are asked to contribute $27,000 (USD) per annum in addition to their HTAi organisational subscription. Not-for-profit members pay a substantially reduced rate compared to for-profit members.

 

What is Health Technology Assessment International (HTAi)?

The mission of HTAi is to support and promote the development, communication, understanding and use of HTA around the world as a scientifically based means of promoting the introduction of effective innovations and the effective use of resources in health care. HTAi runs Annual Meetings and a range of other activities to support this mission.

HTAi is a membership society run by and for its members. It is independent of all sectors, other organisations and interest groups whether from government, industry or other areas. The HTAi Statement on Relations with Public and Private Organisations is provided in Annex 1. 

What is special about HTAi?

HTAi is unique amongst international societies involved in the field of HTA. HTAi focuses specifically and directly on the challenges and opportunities provided by HTA in bringing together all relevant disciplines and methods (including public health, clinical epidemiology and trials, health economics, psychology, health policy, ethics, law, management and other social sciences) to assess the benefits, costs and wider health care consequences of drugs, equipment, invitro diagnostics/tests, and procedures involved in health care and health promotion. The aim is to provide those taking decisions on health care technologies in health policy and practice, and those who are performing HTA, with a space to share knowledge and experience, through the HTAi Annual Meeting, the Journal or the Interest Groups. HTAi members are not just scientists doing HTA but also professionals using HTA in their daily decision-making for coverage and practice, or in the development of new technologies entering the health care market. HTAi is actively committed to international collaboration. In addition to official relations status with the World Health Organization, HTAi has signed formal Memoranda of Understanding with INAHTA, ISQua and Euroscan. HTAi also collaborates with organisational members and regularly works with other like-minded organizations.

 

Who can join HTAi?

Any organisation or individual currently involved or interested in HTA, studying or interested in learn more this dynamic field is welcome to become a member of HTAi. Current membership fees


The benefits of Individual and Student Membership include:

  • Membership in an international network of experts and leaders in HTA
  • Free online access to the International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care
  • HTAi e-newsletters and bulletins, containing resources and news on international developments in HTA
  •  Eligibility to attend HTAi Annual Meetings
  • Eligibility to join all of HTAi's Interest Groups (IGs)
  • Listing on our online Member Directory.

Organisational members may register up to five members of their organisation to receive all the above benefits of Individual and Student Members. Other benefits are being developed for Organisational Members, including free electronic access to a range of relevant journals, free posting of employment vacancies on the HTAi website, and the right to place the organisation’s logo on a special page of the HTAi’s website, with a link to the organisation’s website.

ANNEX 1

HTAi statement on relations with public and private organisations

1. HTAi is a scientific and professional membership society. It welcomes organisational members and sponsors whose support helps to further the mission of the Society, particularly through the development of new initiatives and the extension of activities to less developed countries.

2. HTAi recognises that all organisations (governments, non-governmental organisations and businesses) have interests. HTAi protects its integrity and independence by requiring transparency in all financial support, by relying primarily on individual members for core funding and by having a diversified pool of sponsors so that no single interest has undue importance.

3. For meeting sponsorship, HTAi welcomes contributions in support of an event as a whole, and such contributions will be given appropriate acknowledgement in programmes, posters and other promotional material. Sessions in main meeting programmes are run under the standards of scientific and professional peer review and these sessions may not be sponsored by an outside organisation. Social events, pre- and post-meeting workshops and other elements (e.g., bags, books, etc.) may be sponsored at the discretion of the conference Local Organising Committee. Those participating in HTAi meetings are personally responsible for the costs to them of registration and attendance. HTAi willingly invites organisations to sponsor participants’ attendance at meetings by subsidising the costs to participants of registration, travel and accommodation, particularly for students and for those attending from less developed countries.

4. HTAi adheres to the principles on conflicts of interest promulgated by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. All those invited or offering to submit contributions to sessions or posters in main meeting programmes are obliged to declare sources of support and potential conflicts of interest as a regular part of the review process.

5. All HTAi Board members are required to declare any interests which might conflict or be seen to conflict with their work for the Society.

6. HTAi supports integrity and transparency by inviting all members and other interested parties to view these declarations and its financial statements.


[1] 1 The Chatham House Rule states that "When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed" (see www.chathamhouse.org/about-us/chathamhouserule-translations).