Evidence Synthesis and Health Technology Assessment

Evidence synthesis and health technology assessment are overlapping disciplines. Both aim to bring evidence together to answer a research question or inform a decision and involve multidisciplinary teams. Health technology assessment may combine evidence synthesis with other policy, practice or contextual information to inform guidance on the use of a health technology (such as a new medicine or procedure).

Evidence Synthesis

Evidence synthesis is a process for bringing together relevant information from a range of sources and disciplines on a specific research question. This enables a body of evidence to be coherently summarised to help stakeholders make decisions and guide the direction of future studies. Combining results from different studies can be a powerful tool to explore how interventions may work differently for different people or under different conditions. 

Evidence Synthesis Research Group

Members of the Evidence Synthesis Research Group are involved in the application of evidence synthesis methods and the development of underpinning methods. We have particular expertise in the areas of network meta-analysis (NMA), individual participant data (IPD), selective reporting, and the meta-analysis of joint models, longitudinal data, pharmacogenetics data, time-to-event data, and prognosis studies.

We have strong links with the Cochrane Collaboration through our roles as convenors and members of methods groups, as Cochrane review authors, editorial board members, and through providing statistical support for review groups including Epilepsy, Cystic Fibrosis and Genetic Disorders, Neuromuscular, and Infectious Diseases Groups.

We work closely with the Liverpool Reviews and Implementation Group (LRiG) to conduct high-quality reviews of the clinical and cost effectiveness of health technologies.

For further information contact the lead of the Evidence Synthesis Research Group Professor Catrin Tudur Smith.

Health Technology Assessment

Health technology assessment (HTA) uses a range of methods to inform decision making about how available resources should be used in healthcare. A ‘health technology’ can be any intervention that is used to promote health, prevent or treat disease, improve rehabilitation or deliver long-term care. Interventions include drugs, medical devices, surgical procedures, diagnostics or prevention programmes (such as screening or education). As resources such as money or skilled staff are limited, it is important to consider whether investing in a health technology provides good value in terms of the benefits it produces relative to its cost. HTA is commonly used when a new health technology has been approved by a regulatory body because it is safe, and likely be of benefit, and the technology is being offered to healthcare services (the healthcare market).

HTA brings together consideration of evidence on effectiveness, resources used and how these may differ for groups of people or if delivered in different ways. It makes use of evidence synthesis methods including systematic reviews, economic evaluation and disease modelling. In its broader sense, HTA also considers the prioritisation of technologies for assessment, incorporation of stakeholders’ views, commercial factors such as pricing and access, dissemination, implementation, research and policy implications and inequity, ethical, social and legal aspects.

Liverpool Reviews and Implementation Group

Members of the Liverpool Reviews and Implementation group (LRiG) are involved in the application of a range methods to develop high-quality health technology assessments and other research outputs. We are expert in health economics, economic modelling, information retrieval, systematic reviews, statistics and research leadership. For over 20 years, we have provided independent assessments of clinical and cost effectiveness evidence that have been used to develop National Institute for Health and Care Excellence health technology appraisal guidance. Our work is at the core of evidence-informed guidance and is commissioned on behalf of NICE by NIHR Evidence Synthesis Programme.

LRiG collaborates with local and national partners to develop evidence synthesis projects spanning health services research, food policy and global health. Our research includes consideration of implementation issues, barriers and facilitators and inequalities.

We link with an extensive network of healthcare and methodology experts including specialists in cancer, cardiovascular and neuromuscular disease, hospital pharmacy and primary care. We collaborate with our Evidence Synthesis Research Group colleagues as well as with Cochrane Collaboration groups and regional, national and international research organisations (including Cochrane Epilepsy, Heart and Movement Disorder groups, Liverpool Health Partners, NIHR ARC NWC, InterTASC and ISPOR, HTAi and WHO). 

We are also active in education and capacity development initiatives and we support the use of evidence synthesis, HTA methods and uptake of evidence-informed recommendations as much as we can.

For further information contact LRiG Administrators or LRiG Director, Dr Angela Boland, or visit the Liverpool Reviews and Implementation Group website http://www.liverpool.ac.uk/LRiG

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