HTA and MCDA solely or combined? The case of priority-setting in Colombia
Background: All health care systems face problems of justice and efficiency related to setting priorities for allocating limited financial resources. Therefore, explicit decision-making in healthcare depicted as a continuum from evidence generation to deliberation and communication of the decision made, needs to be transparent and fair. Nevertheless, priority-setting in many parts of the world remains being implicit and ad-hoc process. Health Technology Assessment (HTA) and Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) have emerged as policy tools to assist informed decision-making. Both, MCDA and HTA have pros and cons.
Main body: Colombia experienced an important institutional transformation after the establishment of the Health Technology Assessment Institute in 2012. This paper briefly presents the current challenges of the Colombian health system, the general features of the new health sector reform, the main characteristics of HTA in Colombia and the potential benefits and caveats of incorporating MCDA approaches into the decision-making process.
Conclusion: Structured and objective consideration of the factors that are both measurable and value-based in an open and transparent manner may be feasible hrough combining HTA and MCDA in contexts like Colombia. Further testing and validation of HTA and MCDA solely or combined in LMICs are needed to advance these approaches into healthcare decision-making worldwide.