The most important facilitators and barriers to the use of Health Technology Assessment in Canada: a best-worst scaling approach

Wieslawa Dominika Wranik, Ronaldo-Raul Szekely, Susanne Mayer, Mickael Hiligsmann*, Kei Long Cheung

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background Health Technology Assessment (HTA), which can support public drug reimbursement decisions will play a core function in the planned national Pharmacare program in Canada. To address existing barriers to the use of HTA, these must be ranked in order of priority. The goal of this study was to access the relative importance of known facilitators and barriers to the use of HTA in the context of the Canadian health care system, with attention to differences between regions and stakeholder groups. Methods We used the best-worst scaling object case approach to elicit a quantitative ranking of a list of 20 facilitators and 22 barriers. A sample of 68 Canadian HTA stakeholders, including members of expert committees, decision/policymakers, researchers/academics, and others participated in the study. Their task was to identify the most important and the least important item in 12 sub-sets of five facilitators and 14 sub-sets of five barriers. Findings Relative Importance Scores derived via hierarchical Bayes analysis revealed relations, engagement, and contact between stakeholders as most important on both the barrier and facilitator sides. Other top-ranked facilitators included the availably of credible and relevant research. Other top-ranked barriers included inconsistencies in the evidence and limited generalizability. The availability of HTA guidelines did not rank highly on either side. The main limitation of the study was the challenge with reaching the relevant respondents; this was mitigated by involving the national HTA agency in the research. Conclusion Canadian stakeholders consider the relationships within the HTA network among the most important. Policies should focus on strengthening these relationships. Future research should focus on the connectivity and distribution of knowledge and power within the HTA network.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)846-856
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Medical Economics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • Health Technology Assessment
  • Canadian Pharmacare
  • selection of pharmaceuticals
  • best-worst scaling
  • relative importance scores
  • HTA

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