22 October, 2021

Health Technology Wales scoops international award

A prestigious global prize has been awarded to Health Technology Wales (HTW) for its approach to evaluating the impact of research into a treatment for MS.

The HTW project presented by Senior Researcher Lauren Elston was voted as winner of the David Hailey Award for Best Impact Story at the International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessment’s (INAHTA) congress by the event’s 100 attendees representing INAHTA’s 49 member organisations.

The David Hailey Award for Best Impact Story is awarded to the HTA that presents the best example of the impact an assessment has had and what lessons were learnt from the process.

HTW used its recent appraisal of autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (AHSCT) for highly active relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) as a case study to demonstrate how it evaluated the impact of its work using the Matter of Focus approach. The commissioning body Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee (WHSSC) submitted the topic to HTW, and the appraisal and guidance were published in July 2020.

During the assessment process HTW engaged with an extensive panel of clinical experts including consultant neurologists, consultant haematologists, academics, and other HTA bodies. The organisation also sought direct engagement from two patient organisations, who provided independent patient submissions. Patient organisations later described being included in the appraisal process as “invaluable” and said that “people living with MS were listened to throughout the process”.

Susan Myles, Director of Health Technology Wales said: “We are delighted to have received this award which shows the impact our work has on the quality of healthcare in Wales.

“We strive to meet the needs of patients and healthcare providers in everything we do and to ensure that we work in collaboration with stakeholders.”

Peter Groves, HTW Chairman, said: “I am very proud that HTW has been announced as the 2021 winner of the INAHTA David Hailey Award.  This reflects the quality of the work done in preparing the guidance on autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (AHSCT) for highly active relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) as well as the collaborative approach that we undertake in our appraisals.  The involvement of a wide range of stakeholders has ensured that this guidance will be impactful and exemplifies the importance we place on working with patients and partners from across the health and care systems.”

Lauren Elston, who presented the Impact Story to the INAHTA Congress said: “We are delighted to have received this award as it acknowledges our efforts to evaluate the impact our work has on improving the care of people in Wales.”

Following publication of HTW’s guidance, the WHSSC Prioritisation Panel recommended AHSCT for RRMS as a ‘high priority’ for funding. The guidance was featured on the MS Trust website and in several news articles and patient groups have since called for clear ‘next steps’ towards opening specialist treatment centres in Wales. More information can be found about the AHSCT case study in the HTW Annual Report 2020.

The INAHTA is an international network that connects health technology assessment agencies worldwide to enable knowledge sharing and the exchange of information. It is based at the Institute of Health Economics in Canada.