Health Technology Assessment: The Scientific Career of a Policy Concept
International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care
128 - 134 p.
Health policy, Health technology assessment, Bibliometrics, Network
Objectives: The aim of this work was to provide a comprehensive overview of the evolution of the health technology assessment (HTA) concept in the scientific literature through a scientometric approach. Methods: A literature search was conducted, by selecting publications, as well as news from the media, containing “health technology assessment” in their title, abstracts, or keywords. We then undertook a bibliometric and network analysis on the corpus of 2,865 publications thus obtained. Results: Since a first publication in 1978, interest in HTA remained marginal until a turning point in the late 1980s, when growth of the number of publications took off alongside the creation of the U.K.’s NICE agency. Since then, publications have spread across several journals. The ranking of the organizations that publish such articles does not reflect any hegemonic position. However, HTA-related scientific production is strongly concentrated in Commonwealth and Nordic countries. Despite its transnational aspects, research on HTA has been framed within a small number of scientific networks and by a few opinion leaders. Conclusions: The “career” of the HTA concept may be seen as a scientific-knowledge based institutionalization of a public policy. To succeed in a country, HTA first needs scientific prerequisites, such as an organized scientific community working on the health sector and health services. Then, it appears that the recognition of this research by decision makers plays a key role in the development of the field.