BENGALURU: The State government signed an MoU (a copy of which is with Express) for three years with the Union health ministry’s Department of Health Research on October 10 to undertake Health Technology Assessment (HTA) for it. The Department of Health Research recently set up India’s first HTA agency — Medical Technology Assessment Board (MTAB) — to assess cost-effectiveness of health interventions. MTAB aims to reduce the cost in patient care, expenditure on medical equipment, overall cost of medical treatment, reduction in out-of-pocket expenditure of patients and streamline the medical reimbursement procedures.
Karnataka is the fourth state in the country to sign such an MoU, said Dr Sudha Chandrashekar, director, medical management, Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust, who signed the MoU. As part of the agreement, it will assess medical devices, drugs, medical and surgical procedures. The assessment will include evaluation of medical effectiveness, cost effectiveness, efficacy, safety, psychological, social ethical organisational and economic aspects of it.
The results of these evidence-based studies will be used for policy-making. The MoU comes at an opportune time because as a part of this, Karnataka can carry out analysis of Arogya Bhagya package, a public health expert requesting anonymity said.
“Every state government, agency, health programme, for example, the Non-Communicable Disease Programme and the National Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme can use HTA to understand how best they can use their resources,” the researcher said.
“For example, in dialysis, they can assess what’s best for a population sample — hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis or kidney transplant. Which of these would have best equity and would be cost effective to reach out to population that doesn’t have access to care. It is about reaching out to maximum people with maximum health gain,” the expert said. Chandrashekar said some packages in Arogya Bhagya will be assessed as part of the MoU.
“Arogya Bhagya’s assessment cannot happen before November 1. But this MoU allows SAST to apply for funding from MTAB to set up a team to evaluate Arogya Bhagya. But it is left to SAST how they choose to operationalise the MoU,” the expert said.