Fall 2005

H e a l t h   T e c h n o l o g y
Unbiased evidence: CCOHTA delivers research on drugs, medical devices and systems 


J. David Mitchell Photo

Sheila Tucker is CCOHTA’s Liaison Officer for Newfoundland and Labrador

CCOHTA’s health technology assessments can save you time in evaluating the research evidence.

by Sheila Tucker

Advances in drugs, medical devices and health care equipment create a steady stream of new diagnostic and treatment options that may improve the quality of health care. New options, often of increasing complexity, can also create new challenges. How do you decide which is the most appropriate technology or drug to use for the best patient care? The Canadian Coordinating Office for Health Technology Assessment (CCOHTA) can help.

CCOHTA’s health technology assessments can save you time in evaluating the research evidence by answering questions such as: What is the clinical effectiveness of this technology? Does it offer a clinical advantage compared with other alternatives? Who will benefit from its use?

An important aspect of a health technology assessment (HTA) is the systematic approach to synthesising research into a review that has been validated by subject matter experts. Bias that may exist from individual small studies, expert bias or methodological weaknesses is reduced when a large body of published, unpublished, national and international literature is reviewed together. CCOHTA provides a summary and critical appraisal of all available evidence on the clinical impact as well as other information related to a particular technology. In this respect, HTA is a powerful tool that literally brings together a world of information.

CCOHTA’s recent assessments addressed topics such as artificial skin grafts in chronic wound care, and cholinesterase inhibitors for the treatment of moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease. These and all of CCOHTA’s publications are available free of charge through CCOHTA’s web site at www.ccohta.ca. We also welcome your suggestions for new topics!

If you are seeking evidence on what is new and upcoming in the health system, CCOHTA’s Canadian Emerging Technologies Assessment Program (CETAP) can keep you informed about the evidence on new technologies likely to influence the delivery of health care. Topics in recent issues of our Issues in Emerging Health Technologies series include exenatide for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus, and MRI-guided focused ultrasound for the treatment of uterine fibroids.

Do you have a specific and time-sensitive question about a particular drug or medical device? Our Health Technology Inquiry Service (HTIS) delivers evidence-based information on a range of health technology issues from across Canada in a short time frame. We have responded to more than 100 questions, addressing subjects such as the clinical effectiveness of insect venom vaccines, and insulin pumps for treatment of diabetes.

For your health-related questions on topics such as drugs, devices and medical equipment please contact Sheila Tucker, CCOHTA’s Liaison Officer for Newfoundland and Labrador at (709) 777-8740 or sheilat@ccohta.ca.

CCOHTA is an independent, not-for-profit agency dedicated to supporting informed decision making in health care. The liaison office for Newfoundland & Labrador is located at the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Applied Health Research, Memorial University, St. John’s.

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