31 July, 2020

Case study: INAHTA HTA database testing

What did we do?

In 2018, the International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) took over production and development of the HTA Database from the Centre for Review and Dissemination (CRD). We responded to a call from INAHTA and joined an expert advisory group to provide high-level advice on the features of a new version of database.

We tested the database on three occasions to evaluate various aspects of its functionality, including:

  • Display, navigation and exporting of results
  • Creating and editing records
  • Comparison with the CRD search interface to the old HTA database
  • Searching for results
  • Boolean logic within the search functionality

After thorough evaluation, we provided detailed feedback and suggested changes to the search functionality, also contributing to two INAHTA HTA Database Steering Committee meetings.

Who with?

Health Technology Wales’ input was led by our information scientist, Jenni Washington. There was a worldwide approach to testing the database and it included representatives from the Scottish Health Technologies Group (SHTG), the Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre (KCE), the German Federal Joint Committee – Gemeinsamer Bundesausschuss (G-Ba), and the Center for Drug Evaluation (CDE), Taiwan.

What were the reactions?

After submitting our feedback, Jenni was asked to attend the INAHTA HTA Database Steering Committee and then invited to become a member of it. This new role is alongside our membership of the HTA Database Technical Advisory Group.

Tara Schuller, Executive Manager of INAHTA, said: “HTW, as one of the newest members of INAHTA, has been an essential contributor to the development of the new HTA database. The original database was produced and housed at the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination in the UK, and INAHTA took over this important international resource but we had to rebuild it from scratch. A daunting challenge if there ever was one! INAHTA created a technical review group composed of experts in information retrieval from among our member agencies and they have been absolutely fundamental to our success in completing this ambitious project. The technical review group provided advice on the development of the database and tested it rigorously over the past several months to ensure the advanced search features and all process pieces were working well on the platform. Jenni’s contributions were of the highest quality, very insightful, accurate, and on time! I cannot emphasize how much her expert contributions – along with that of the other technical reviewers – has been instrumental in this work. Thank you Jenni, thank you, HTW!”

What difference did this make?

Our input into the database development and testing helped improve the search functionality of the database. It has been launched and is used by health researchers around the world. The database serves as a valuable resource for locating literature and bibliographic information not freely available from any other single source. The database provides a comprehensive listing of nearly 17,000 ongoing and published HTAs.

This international collaboration has ensured that HTAs are more easily available to INAHTA members, who can receive access to up to date information. HTAs are used to support evidence-informed decision making, in order to promote an equitable, efficient and high-quality health system.