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The University of Sheffield

Health Technology Assessment: Choosing Which Treatments Get Funded

The University of Sheffield via FutureLearn


Explore the decision-making process behind healthcare technology assessment

Why are some treatments made available to patients while others are not?

On this course, you’ll explore how health technology assessment (HTA) informs whether we should have access to certain treatments on the NHS or other healthcare systems.

You’ll learn how decisions are made about which treatments are made available and the considerations that made surrounding benefits and costs.

This course is based on the University of Sheffield’s online distance-learning programme, the MSc International Health Technology Assessment. You can continue to learn about healthcare decision-making in our other online course Measuring and Valuing Health.

This course is designed for anyone who works in a medical or pharmaceutical profession, or who studies a healthcare subject such as medicine, nursing, healthcare or health economics and wants to better understand HTA.

This course will also be helpful for a patient or interested member of the public who wants to understand the HTA story behind the headlines.

You should have an interest in healthcare decision making and economics aspects, as this is at the core of HTA.

A basic familiarity with healthcare research will be helpful.


  • What is Health Technology Assessment?
    • Introduction to the course
    • What is HTA?
    • The HTA process
    • How does HTA inform healthcare funding?
    • Reflection and a look at next week
  • How do we know if the treatment is of benefit?
    • Pre-trial stages
    • Therapeutic value propositions
    • Clinical trials
    • Reflection and a look forward to next week
  • How can we make sense of all the evidence?
    • An introduction to systematic reviews
    • The different stages of a review
    • Uncertainty and risk of bias in the evidence base
    • Qualitative reviews
    • Reflection and a look at next week
  • How is evidence of the cost of treatments used in HTA?
    • Introduction to economic evaluation
    • Modelling
    • The final HTA report
    • Perspectives on the decision-making process
    • End of the course and farewell

Taught by

Claire Beecroft


4.6 rating, based on 33 Class Central reviews

4.6 rating at FutureLearn based on 30 ratings

Start your review of Health Technology Assessment: Choosing Which Treatments Get Funded

  • Anonymous
    Quite insightful. Strongly focused on the UK system but useful to get a summary understanding of how the process works, predominantly from the side of the healthcare system.

    I greatly appreciated how the course felt really thought out to be delivered in a digital ashion. Materials were made available easily, interaction was very much on the user's terms and that the lecture was organized in small manageable bites of information. I currently work full time and it gave me the possibility to get some relevant (and quite updated) knowledge and material on a topic without having to organize myself to review 1/1.5h "digitalized" classes that are really just video recordings.

    Keep it up!

  • Anonymous
    Very helpful resource! I gained an overall view on what health technology assessment is; the different stages of the process; the expertise required from different fields; the key issues in dealing with the complexity of allocating resources in the NHS. What a wonderful system the UK has implemented. It would be nice to understand better how other countries do it and how much we globally could benefit from more international cooperation on this challenging decision process. Thank you to the staff at University of Sheffield for this free course!
  • Anonymous
    excellent course I really enjoyed learning about the HTA in details. Only the practical aspect like hoe to do Markov modeling or using excel is missing.
  • Anonymous
    Many thanks for the course. It's a very interested subject. Hope we are look forward the learnings from this course in our real life.
  • Anonymous
    I enjoyed this course. It offered me new insights into HTA and allowed me to explore more about the field of HTA.
  • Mirella Khoury
    The course provided us a good understanding of the process adopted in order to assess new technologies, clinical evidence coupled with costs, allowing responsible authorities to take wise decisions on the reimbursement issues.
    I would have liked to get the opportunity to participate in practical trials and exercises in order to consolidate the learning of this program.
    The live interaction with the speakers is missed. It would definitely improve the quality of learning.
    Thank you.
  • Anonymous
    This is an excellent course on a topic that is very important but we normally only come across in emotive or sensational reporting. It covers a wide range of topics in enough depth that by the end of it you have a very good understanding of how health care decisions are made. The course is appropriately detailed but everything is very clearly explained. Very highly recommended if you are interested in the facts and reasoning behind the "Miracle drug rejected!" headlines.
  • Anonymous
    It was a very well structured, interesting, incisive and interactive course. Many thanks for having me as part of the course. I look forward to being a part of more such courses As 8 am a researcher I would really appreciate being involved in the development of such courses as well.
  • Anonymous
    Course is very well prepared, data are supported by a lot of examples and pictures. Different chapters are in logic order. I must very strong appreciate clear informations.

    Thank you
  • Anonymous
    The information is rich and useful

    But how to apply?

    It has a special difficulty because it is not familiar to us and is not applied because it is not approved and there is no database.
  • Anonymous
    Real good course for people in the health industry. Correct and objective methodology to assess new implementation of drugs , technology and any other intervention.
  • Anonymous
    I think it is a complete and comprehensive introductory course to this very interesting and applicable topic for health service managers, planners, educators and researchers. It presents, in addition to the content, appropriate teaching aids and clear examples. It is pleasing to see how the many networks of national and international institutions that are oriented around the topic are reporting. It is from these networks and contacts that the examples of real applications come. In conclusion, the pedagogical model is really of high quality, adequate and not tiring or demanding too much study time.
  • Anonymous
    Very worthwhile course and I found the forest plot explanation and subsequent exercise very useful. My suggestion would be an exercise which looks at the downstream commissioning decisions consequent to a positive TA being issued by NICE eg for a cost effective high cost drug - what should it displace eg podiatry services for the elderly, liver transplants for ex alcoholics or IVF services etc etc. This can be really challenging but does expose the dilemma often faced by commissioners
  • Anonymous
    This is a great course and will explain the basics of Health Technology Assessment. Its weakness is that the tutors fail to adequately explore the ethical implications of using Health Technology Assessment to make healthcare funding decisions. Material is presented as if it is relatively uncontroversial whilst the methodology itself is highly contested and sometimes results in court cases where the decision making process is the subject of legal dispute. These areas need much more exploration.
  • Anonymous
    This course covered and provided a glimpse throught the different aspects of HTA. However, some key concepts and definitions are not explained clear and deep enough. You often have to further look up on the internet to truly understand. The course is also rather text-based. Sometimes you feel like just reading sections from a textbook. It will be better if more interactive teaching methods can be included to allow for more thinking and comprehension on the course materials.
  • Anonymous
    Excellent , well prepared, well structured course.
    It brought many pieces of information about cost effectiveness, and linked them together to learn about HTA concept, how drug or a device, or any medical intervention being assessed to be reimbursed by the budget holders.

    However I need more data about modeling techniques, how they are designed and performed.

  • Anonymous
    This course provides an excellent introduction into the area of health technology assessment. It provides a good overview of the key principles, with plenty of opportunities for learning and discussion. The interactive nature of the course allows everyone to share their thoughts, views and opinions, which is a unique and fun way to learn.
  • Girma Teketelew
    This course is very intresting. I have learnt alot from it. Last year I have taken pharmacoeconomics course and I tried to learn, but on this course I familiarised in a good manner. I ould like if you give us introduction to economics.
    Your mode of delivery as intersting. Generally, I would like to thank you.
  • Anonymous
    This course should be appreciated for its exceptional clarity of contents, sequencing of topics and simple language being used to introduce the complex HTA discipline. Each module has been broken down into interesting bits and pieces which makes the participant to complete the topics without any exhaustion.
  • Anonymous
    The course is very well structured and perfect to get an overview on HTA and the processes involved.

    I really liked the chance to look at real examples explained in details.

    I already had some knowledge about HTA so it was maybe easier to follow this course but I could find many hints that provided added value.

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