How has implementation been incorporated in health technology assessments in the United Kingdom? A systematic rapid review

Heggie, R., Boyd, K. and Wu, O. (2021) How has implementation been incorporated in health technology assessments in the United Kingdom? A systematic rapid review. Health Research Policy and Systems, 19, 118. (doi: 10.1186/s12961-021-00766-2)

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Objectives: Health interventions in a clinical setting may be complex. This is particularly true of clinical interventions which require systems reorganization or behavioural change, and/or when implementation involves additional challenges not captured within a clinical trial setting. Medical Research Council guidance on complex interventions highlights the need to consider economic evaluation alongside implementation. However, the extent to which this guidance has been adhered to, and how, is unclear. The failure to incorporate implementation within the evaluation of an intervention may hinder the translation of research findings into routine practice. This will have consequences for patient care. This study examined the methods used to address implementation within health research conducted through funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment (HTA) programme. Methods: We conducted a rapid review using a systematic approach. We included all NIHR HTA monographs which contained the word “implementation” within the title or abstract published between 2014 and 2020. We assessed the studies according to existing recommendations for specifying and reporting implementation approaches in research. Additional themes which were not included in the recommendation, but were of particular relevance to our research question, were also identified and summarized in a narrative synthesis. Results: The extent to which implementation was formally incorporated, and defined, varied among studies. Methods for examining implementation ranged from single stakeholder engagement events to the more comprehensive process evaluation. There was no obvious pattern as to whether approaches to implementation had evolved over recent years. Approximately 50% (22/42) of studies included an economic evaluation. Of these, two studies included the use of qualitative data obtained within the study to quantitatively inform aspects relating to implementation and economic evaluation in their study. Discussion: A variety of approaches were identified for incorporating implementation within an HTA. However, they did not go far enough in terms of incorporating implementation into the actual design and evaluation. To ensure the implementation of clinically effective and cost-effective interventions, we propose that further guidance on how to incorporate implementation within complex interventions is required. Incorporating implementation into economic evaluation provides a step in this direction.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Heggie, Mr Robert and Boyd, Professor Kathleen and Wu, Professor Olivia
Authors: Heggie, R., Boyd, K., and Wu, O.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Health Economics and Health Technology Assessment
Journal Name:Health Research Policy and Systems
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN (Online):1478-4505
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in Health Research Policy and Systems 19: 118
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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