The recent establishment of health technology assessment (HTA) units in University hospitals in the Province of Quebec (Canada) provides a unique opportunity to foster increased participation of patients in decisions regarding health technologies and interventions at the local level. However, little is known about factors that influence whether the patient's perspective is taken into consideration when such decisions are made.
To explore the practices, perceptions and views of the various HTA stakeholders concerning patient involvement in HTA at the local level.
Data were collected using semi-structured interviews with 24 HTA producers and hospital managers and two focus groups with a total of 13 patient representatives.
Patient representatives generally showed considerable interest in being involved in HTA. Our findings support the hypothesis that the patient perspective contributes to a more accurate and contextualized assessment of health technologies and produces HTA reports that are more useful for decision makers. They also suggest that participation throughout the assessment process could empower patients and improve their knowledge. Barriers to patient involvement in HTA at the local level are also discussed as well as potential strategies to overcome them.
Discussion and conclusion
This study contributes to knowledge that could guide interventions in favour of patient participation in HTA activities at the local level. Experimenting with different patient involvement strategies and assessing their impact is needed to provide evidence that will inform future interventions of this kind.