Introduzione alla ricerca della documentazione in Health Technology Assessment

DOI 10.23753/htafocus2014.02.010

Valeria Romano, Chiara Rivoiro


The starting point and basis for health technology assessment (HTA) is information. Health technology assessment is the synthesis of many pieces of information from many different sources. The purpose of an HTA is to provide health care decision-makers, professionals and other stakeholders with the evidence they need to make informed decisions about the introduction, allocation, and cost-effective use of medical technologies. The amount of information on the Internet has become overwhelming and there is the additional risk that information can be biased, out-of-date, or low-quality. The key to efficient searching is to know where reliable and relevant information can most often be found. Literature search and information retrieval for an HTA purpose is not therefore a generic search of biomedical databases. An information specialist working within an HTA professional team should be aware of the complex areas HTA deals with. HTA agencies and international organizations working on this topic have developed strong methodologies for information retrieval, such as the planning of literature search protocols.
This is an attempt to start an overview of the methods aimed at a comprehensive information retrieval, which are internationally shared, accepted and used. The starting point is based on a real experience made by a multidisciplinary regionally based HTA team who worked closely with government decision makers, health service providers and health care professionals in the region, providing decision support by drawing on its multi-disciplinary research capacities. The team had started their work on a common educational basis, such as an international academic master programme in HTA.

Key words: literature search, information specialist, HTA team, biomedical database