Australian Government - Department of Health

Health Technology Assessment

Frequently Asked Questions

General
What is Health Technology Assessment (HTA)?
Is my technology eligible for Australian Government funding?
Who can I speak to about my application?
What if my HTAAP case manager is unavailable or changes?
What do you mean by a co-dependent or hybrid technology?
What is the HTA Access Point?
How can I track the progress of my HTA application?
What sort of information is available and where can I find it?
What is the current status of the HTA Review and its recommendations?

Lobbyists
What are Lobbying Activities?
Who is a Lobbyist?
Conduct between the Australian Government and Lobbyists
Do I need to Register?

General

What is Health Technology Assessment (HTA)?

Health Technology Assessment (HTA) is a multidisciplinary field of policy analysis studying the medical, economic, social and ethical implications of development, diffusion and use of health service delivery, and associated technologies, in a systematic, transparent, unbiased and robust manner.
HTA encapsulates a range of processes and mechanisms that use scientific evidence to assess the quality, safety, efficacy, effectiveness and cost effectiveness of health services. The process is commonly applied to pharmaceuticals (including vaccines), medical devices, medical procedures, diagnostic tests and public health approaches.

Is my technology eligible for Australian Government funding?

The Australian Government currently funds a range of programs that subsidise health technologies. Information about these different programs, including contact details for where assistance is available within the Department of Health and Ageing can be found on this website on the ‘HTA for Reimbursement’ page.

Who can I speak to about my application?

Information about Australian Government funding programs for health technologies can be found on this website. If you know which funding program you made an application under or which area of the Department is managing your application, you can contact the relevant secretariat area directly. If you do not know which area to contact, you can contact the HTA Access Point on (02) 6289 7550 or via email: hta@health.gov.au

If you have a complex (co-dependent or hybrid) technology, or you are not sure of the most appropriate pathway to have your technology assessed, please contact the HTA Access Point on (02) 6289 7550 or via email: hta@health.gov.au

What if my HTAAP case manager is unavailable or changes?

Your case manager will have recorded all the details of your potential application including material submitted by you and any discussions with you or other relevant parties about your potential application. This information will be stored confidentially.

While a HTAAP case manager is assigned to each applicant, the case manager is supported by a HTAAP team within the Department that can also access the stored details of the potential application. Should a case manager be unavailable (for example on leave) anyone within the HTAAP team should be able to assist with your queries. If your case manager leaves you will be assigned a new case manager.

What do you mean by a co-dependent or hybrid technology?

A co-dependent technology is co-dependent if its use needs to be combined (either sequentially or simultaneously) to achieve or enhance the intended clinical effect of either technology.

A hybrid technology is where the characteristics of different health technologies (e.g. a medicine or a medical device or a biologic) are combined in one intervention (e.g. laser activated medicines such as a photodynamic therapy).

What is the HTA Access Point?

The HTA Access Point (HTAAP) is a team of people in the Department of Health and Ageing whose role is to handle complex health technology assessments that are either co-dependent or hybrid technologies and which may need to be assessed for reimbursement under two or more funding programs. The HTAAP is available to assist potential applicants and to facilitate the assessment of the particular technology and ensure its complexity does not hinder its timely access to reimbursement.

How can I track the progress of my HTA application?

You can contact the relevant HTA advisory committee secretariat at any time for general information on the application process and to get a status report on your application.

What sort of information is available and where can I find it?

1. General information

Each Australian Government HTA funding program and HTA expert advisory committee has a website that provides information on its HTA process. Contact details are also provided if you have questions or would like to speak to someone about your application.

2. Pre-lodgement: before you submit an application

The PBAC and MSAC secretariats provide applicants with the opportunity for a pre-lodgement meeting with the department to discuss a potential application and the application, assessment and appraisal processes. This can be arranged by contacting the relevant secretariat directly.

The PLAC (formerly the PDC) secretariat conducts industry briefing seminars at the beginning of each cycle. Details can be found in the Private Health Insurance circular or by contacting the secretariat directly.

3. During the application process

Once you have submitted an application for HTA, you will be contacted by the relevant Australian Government HTA secretariat or HTAAP at the following times:
    • to acknowledge receipt of application
    • where clarification or further information is required on the application
    • as/if required by procedural fairness (natural justice) - Australian Government HTA secretariats will endeavour to provide the opportunity to respond to assessments on the application that are being submitted to an expert advisory committee and on which they may rely on to inform its advice
    • once the outcome of the HTA is known.

Applicants are able to contact the department through the secretariat with which their application was lodged during the HTA process for a status report on their application.

Where the application is for a co-dependent or hybrid technology the applicant should contact the HTAAP.

What is the current status of the HTA Review and its recommendations?

On 27 February 2010, the Minister for Health and Ageing, the Hon Nicola Roxon, announced the Government’s acceptance of the report of the HTA Review, including that the Department of Health and Ageing commence immediate implementation of 13 of the 16 recommendations. Recommendations 13-15 - relating to post market surveillance - are subject to further Government consideration due to the costs associated with implementation. The current status of progress towards implementation of individual recommendations can be found on the achievements page.
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Lobbyists

Sponsors of applications may engage a consultant to communicate with departmental staff (with or without the sponsor in attendance) to assist with preparation of a submission. The involvement of the consultant in such communication is defined as a lobbying activity. Lobbying is a legitimate activity which can help individuals and organisations communicate their views on matters of public interest to the Government.

What are Lobbying Activities?

Lobbying activities are defined as communications with a Government representative in an effort to influence Government decision making including decisions about the allocation of funding.

Who is a Lobbyist?

A lobbyist is any person, company or organisation who conducts lobbying activities on behalf of a third party client or whose employees conduct lobbying activities on behalf of a third party client.

Conduct between the Australian Government and Lobbyists

In 2008, the Australian Government introduced a Lobbying Code of Conduct and established a Register of Lobbyists to ensure that contact between lobbyists and Australian Government representatives is conducted in accordance with public expectations of transparency, integrity and honesty. As such, any contact by the consultant with the Department needs to be carried out in accordance with the requirements of the Lobbying Code of Conduct.

Do I need to Register?

Any person or organisation who acts on behalf of third-party clients for the purposes of communicating with Government representatives to influence Government decisions must be registered on the Register of Lobbyists and must comply with the requirements of the Lobbying Code of Conduct.

Further information on the Register can be found at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet website at: http://lobbyists.pmc.gov.au/index.cfm
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Page currency, Latest update: 26 September, 2011