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Spotlight on new health interventions

Spotlight on new health interventions

A National Health Committee report released today analyses the way new health interventions are introduced in New Zealand.

The report, Decision-Making about New Health Interventions, makes recommendations about how New Zealand can benefit more from new innovations by encouraging better and more informed decisions about how new drugs, devices and procedures are introduced.

The NHC says the increasing demand for new interventions is adding to the demand on health resources. There is a need for explicit and robust decision-making processes that take into account the available evidence and the interests of different stakeholders, including clinicians, patients and the community.

In its report to the Minister of Health, Hon Annette King, the NHC says that although evidence and cost are important, decision-making is very complex and is influenced by a range of factors.

The NHC’s work shows that a variety of formal and informal processes are currently used to decide whether to adopt new health interventions. However there is a need for greater clarity about how decisions are made. The report proposes a framework for an improved decision-making process.

Following research and interviews with a number of DHBs, the NHC proposes two areas of action. It recommends priority be given to developing robust decision-making processes at DHB, national and regional level to facilitate the timely adoption of appropriate new interventions, benefiting all New Zealanders.

The NHC also makes suggestions about how to improve the capacity and capability for assessing evidence and information. Possible options include setting up a web-based searchable library of international and New Zealand-generated evidence and information. It also suggests the use of a brokerage agency to coordinate the provision of information about new interventions.

NHC spokesperson Geoff Fougere said: “The NHC acknowledges that a range of views will exist about the value of a new intervention. In many situations it may not be possible to reach universal agreement. The committee believes it is important therefore that the focus should be on having an agreed process to make the best decisions, taking account of all relevant perspectives in the time available and based on the best available information.

“The establishment of robust decision-making processes will require greater collaboration between different groups within, and across DHBs and the Ministry of Health. The NHC believes that DHBs must balance their autonomy and obligations to their communities against the impact that their decisions are likely to have on all other DHBs.”

A copy of the report Decision-Making about New Health Interventions will be available on the NHC website at: following the launch of the report.

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