McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

New research network will enhance Mac's strengths in health assessment

Published: April 5, 2007
Susan Denburg and Ron Goeree
Susan Denburg (left), director, Collaborations for Health and associate vice-president, academic for the Faculty of Health Sciences, and Ron Goeree (right), Director of PATH.

Five health sciences research groups at McMaster University have joined together to form a network that will set a new standard in Canadian health technology assessment.

The Network of Excellence for the Assessment of Health Technologies (NEAHT) represents a new model in the growing area of research on the safety, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of new and emerging health interventions. The makeup of the network brings together strengths in the various facets of health technology assessment including evaluation, economics, ethics, policy analysis and knowledge transfer.

"This new network highlights the exceptional strength at McMaster in these research areas, and is a prime example of the types of initiatives being advanced by Collaborations for Health," said Susan Denburg, director, Collaborations for Health, and associate vice-president, academic for the Faculty of Health Sciences.

"The relative expertise of each of the five research groups means NEAHT has more collective strength than any other health technology assessment group in the country. By coming together, we can develop a new model that goes beyond the traditional economic model for health technology assessment, to include social and ethical perspectives, policy analysis and knowledge transfer implications."

The research groups comprising the network are the Centre for the Evaluation of Medicines, the Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis, the Program for Assessment of Technology in Health (PATH), the Evidence-based Practice Centre and the Program in Policy Decision-Making.

Each has a well-established track record for research in the various stages necessary to ensure health interventions are being developed and used in the most beneficial and cost-effective manner. By working together, they will be able to create a new, all-encompassing model for evaluating and assessing drugs, medical procedures, devices, programs, guidelines and policies.

NEAHT has already achieved its first funding success.

The Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) announced today that NEAHT has been chosen as the first recipient of a new initiative dubbed Partners in Health Technology Assessment (PIHTA). CADTH will fund work by NEAHT for a minimum of $200,000 for each of three years, with the opportunity for extension and expansion.

CADTH is a national body that provides Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial health care decision makers with credible, impartial advice and evidence-based information about the effectiveness and efficiency of drugs and other health technologies.
PIHTA was created to enhance the capacity and improve methods and practice for health technology assessment in Canada.

Ron Goeree, Director of PATH, said NEAHT will be able to consider a broad range of topics for future investigation.

"The challenges of health technology assessment in health care today are huge, and McMaster is already strong in this area," he said. "This new undertaking will showcase McMaster as the place that will redefine HTA in an interdisciplinary way."

Projects undertaken by NEAHT will also benefit students, he said. "Through the health technology assessment stream of the graduate Health Research and Methodology Program, our students will have the opportunity to think about health technology assessment in a completely new way."

Promoting interdisciplinary education and research to advance knowledge in health is a key platform of the University’s Collaborations for Health initiative.

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