health / tech·nol·o·gy / as·sess·ment

Before an innovative health product is adopted within the Ontario healthcare system, decision makers may require a solid foundation of evidence to assess the value of a technology. This type of evaluation is called a health technology Assessment. An HTA is a systematic evaluation of properties, effects, and/or impacts of health technology on patient health and the healthcare system. It is a multidisciplinary process that evaluates the social, economic, organizational and ethical issues of an innovative health product and/or service. The main purpose of an HTA is to inform decisions surrounding health policy and purchasing, service management, and clinical practice.

In Canada, HTAs are performed across the national, provincial, regional, or hospital level. Government and non-government entities can also conduct HTAs. Ontario has a high quality HTA process and they are often conducted by government (HQO) and non-government (CADTH, CHEPA, IC/ES, PATH, THETA) agencies as well as individual innovation centres and hospitals (The Hub at St Michael’s; TASK at SickKids). An HTA may also be performed pre- or post- regulatory approval. Health innovators may seek assessment of their product using an HTA before regulatory approval to inform on the product's design, clinical utility, and marketability (i.e., demand). While not common practice, conducting an HTA prior to regulatory approval (see Phase 2: Regulation) provides deeper insight into the value and utility of a product through feedback from user testing, clinical relevance and workflow.

Most new technologies do not require an HTA. Non-disruptive innovations incrementally improve upon an existing product or service; they do not require an HTA and can often bypass this step. Disruptive innovations on the other hand, may benefit from an HTA. Disruptive innovations attempt to introduce new products or services that currently do not fit within the health care system and often require new infrastructure and policies for successful implementation.

While the process of conducting an HTA may be lengthy and costly, HTAs have the ability to provide immense value as part of the implementation process. Decision makers in Canada rely on recommendations made from HTAs about whether to implement a new product into the healthcare system.

There are three pathways for conducting an HTA: 1) government conducted HTA (Phase 5.1), 2) non-government conducted HTA (Phase 5.2), and 3) No HTA required (Phase 5.3).


phase 5.1


phase 5.2


phase 5.3



innovator's checklist

  • Determine if an HTA is required and who will perform the assessment.

  • Ensure the product meets the minimum required evidence for an HTA (see Phase 4: Evidence Generation).



Last update: 2018-Nov-26

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