Observation of health technologies after their introduction into clinical practice: a systematic review on data collection instruments


  • Leonor Varela-Lema PhD,

    1. Senior Technician, Galician Agency for Health Technology Assessment, Department of Health, Galician Regional Authority, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
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  • Alberto Ruano-Ravina MPH PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Senior Lecturer, Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain and Senior Lecturer, Consortium for Biomedical Research in Epidemiology & Public Health (CIBER de Epidemiología y Salud Pública – CIBERESP), Barcelona, Spain
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  • Teresa Cerdá Mota MD MPH

    1. Medical Doctor, Preventive Medicine Service, Hospital Complex of Pontevedra, Pontevedra, Spain
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Prof. Alberto Ruano-Ravina, Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, School of Medicine, University of Santiago de Compostela, C/ San Francisco s/n, 15782 Santiago de Compostela, Spain, E-mail: alberto.ruano@usc.es


Rationale, aims and objectives  Early assessment of health technologies after they are covered by the health system is deemed crucial to promptly identify and analyse unforeseen problems that may arise when these are used in real world settings. This paper aims to describe the various instruments which could be used for collecting information intended for prospective observation of health technologies, so as to choose the specific instrument best suited to each context.

Methods  Systematic review of the medical literature aimed at retrieving general reference documents on data collection instruments for post-introduction observation of health technologies. A purpose-designed systematic bibliographic search was elaborated for the main three data collection instruments identified.

Results  The three instruments are briefly described along with the main results of the studies retrieved, in terms of the advantages, drawbacks and considerations to be borne in mind when it comes to use these tools in post-introduction observation of new technologies.

Conclusions  At present, the most appropriate data collection method for conducting post-introduction observation of new technologies is the use of prospective clinical registries. Electronic clinical records may replace clinical registries in the near future, but currently there are still many doubts as to the quality of the information retrieved.