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Health technology assessment in critical care

Scales DC, Laupacis A. Intensive Care Med. 2007; 33(12):2183-91. Epub 2007 Oct 20.


Background — Heath technology assessments (HTAs) evaluate the benefits and costs of devices for monitoring and therapy (and their associated requirements for human resources) which contribute to the high expense associated with ICU admission.

Discussion — Given the limited resources available for health care and increasing demands, funds spent inefficiently or unnecessarily on technologies in the ICU may threaten the sustainability of the health care system or prevent other potentially cost-effective devices from being introduced into clinical care. We discuss the factors impeding the conducting of HTAs in the ICU and suggest strategies for change.

Conclusions — Despite the need for HTAs of ICU devices only few have been conducted. They should be undertaken more frequently, and their results used to influence clinical practice and hospital and regional-level policy decisions.

Keywords: Health care costs Health technology assessment Emergency medical services

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