Application Areas

Health Technology Assessment can be applied in different areas of the health system, the term “health technology” is therefore defined quite broadly: HTA can be used for the assessment of therapeutic interventions as for example medicinal products, vaccinations, medical devices and operative or diagnostic procedures. Moreover organisational approaches like disease management programs and interventions in the area of public health and prevention/health promotion, as for example healthy eating campaigns, can be assessed.

Interventions in the area of public health and prevention/health promotion are usually conducted in a complex environment and include a variety of factors that may have influence on the outcome. Due to this complexity, evidence based on randomized clinical trials can be hard to obtain. Moreover, social and ethical factors tend to be very relevant for activities in the area of Public Health and prevention/ health promotion and therefore strongly need to be addressed.

In order to consider the forementioned issues for the evaluation of Public Health or prevention/health promotion activities more appropriately the concept of Evidence based Public Health (EbPH) was developed in the past years. Although EbPH is based on the concepts of Evidence based Medicine (EbM) it tries to adapt methods and guidelines to the complexity inherent in the process of evaluating Public Health/ Prevention and Health Promotion.

The goal of evidence based public health is to provide scientific methods to assess the effectiveness of activities in the area of Public Health and prevention/ health promotion. Different models, guidelines and checklists for Evidence based Public Health exist, a short selection of links and literature can be found in the following: 

  • Publication of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control regarding Evidence-based methodologies for public health: Publication EbPH