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Health Technology Assessment in nursing: a literature review


  • N. Ramacciati RN, MSN, MA (PolSci)

    Lecturer, Head Nurse, Corresponding author
    1. Emergency Department of ‘S, Maria della Misericordia' Hospital, Perugia, Italy
    • Contract of Business Organization, Università degli Studi di Perugia, Perugia, Italy
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Correspondence address: Nicola Ramacciati, Emergency Department, Azienda Ospedaliera di Perugia, Loc. S. Andrea delle Fratte, 06125 Perugia, Italy; Tel: (0039)075-5149028; Fax: (0039)075-5782488; E-mail:



The Health Technology Assessment (HTA) approach, which provides scientific support for the decisions taken within the health field, is of increasing importance worldwide. In a context of limited resources, HTA has the potential of being an efficient tool for addressing the sustainability problems and the allocation choices arising from the constant increase in demand.


This study aims to investigate HTA use in nursing, both in terms of quantifying HTA evaluations of nursing phenomena which have been conducted and in terms of the extent to which nursing has used the HTA approach. The Italian context has been analysed because of the growing diffusion of the HTA in Italy along with the recent developments in the nursing profession.


A narrative review of international literature was undertaken using the following databases: HTA, PubMed, CINAHL, ILISI.


Seventy evaluation studies on nursing were identified from the HTA database (1.12% of all studies in the database). The areas of nursing intervention and the country of origin of the studies were identified. Two nursing studies on the HTA approach were found in the PubMed, CINAHL and HTA databases. The first focused on the evaluation of nursing technology process and analysed 126 studies in six main thematic areas; the second was a systematic review on HTA in nursing and analysed 192 studies (46 meta-analyses, 31 Finnish primary studies, 117 international primary studies). Three Italian studies were identified from the ILISI database and Italian grey literature.


In the international literature, although analyses regarding the efficacy of nursing interventions have been conducted, there are to date very few research projects that focus exclusively on the HTA process as applied to nursing. The recent development of a standardized nursing language coupled with the open debate as to which research method (qualitative vs. quantitative) best serves to ‘read’ nursing phenomena may explain the scarce diffusion of HTA in the field of nursing.