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Health Technology Assessment

Module titleHealth Technology Assessment
Module codeCSC3024
Academic year2022/3
Module staff

Professor G.J. Melendez-Torres (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

The module is designed for students who wish to develop skills and knowledge in Health Technology Assessment (HTA), the process of evaluating costs and health benefits associated with health technologies such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices and diagnostic tests. This module covers key elements and methods of HTA such as clinical evidence synthesis and economic evaluation. The module is research-inspired — you will learn directly from members of Peninsula Technology Assessment Group (PenTAG) who have first-hand experience in HTA decision-making at the national level through the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). The module combines lectures, group discussions, and computer lab sessions. This module is open to students from the Medical School who have already taken the Health Economics module, and students from other departments with suitable preparation in maths (e.g. at A level).

Lectures will use a combination of pre-recorded and live sessions. 

Workshops will be delivered as asynchronous tasks to be summarized and discussed in live sessions. 

Weekly contact will be about 90 minutes.  This will include interactive exposition of the material, focusing on real-life examples, with facility to ask questions and develop understanding.  In weeks following the release of workshop material, scheduled weekly contact will include 30 minutes to sum up and consolidate learning, drawing as well on discussion forum posts.

Pre-recorded contact will focus on exposition of technical material.  For example presentation of statistical methods relevant to survival analysis in a pre-recorded lecture will be followed by live presentation of examples; the subsequent week’s contact will begin with a 30-minute discussion of the corresponding activity.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to provide students with foundational knowledge and skills in Health Technology Assessment, the process of evaluating costs and health benefits associated with health technologies such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices and diagnostic tests.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate an understanding of the purpose of health technology assessment
  • 2. Develop a search strategy and perform a literature search for relevant clinical and economic evidence
  • 3. Describe the purpose of combining available clinical evidence quantitatively
  • 4. Implement a basic indirect comparison of clinical effectiveness
  • 5. Explain the purpose and methodology of survival analysis for HTA
  • 6. Compare and contrast the key features of commonly used modelling approaches, including sensitivity analysis
  • 7. Demonstrate working knowledge of HTA modelling
  • 8. Describe the ethical and procedural basis for HTA decision-making
  • 9. Present research findings for academic publication and dissemination to non-specialist audiences

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 10. Understand the role of health technology assessment in the broader context of health research
  • 11. Explain the steps in the HTA process

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 12. Manage time and workload effectively
  • 13. Communicate clearly and efficiently in both written and oral formats, for scientific and non-specialist audiences

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, an example of an overall structure is as follows:

Lecture Topics:

(1)  What is HTA and why is it important for evidence-based practice and policy?

(2)  Systematic review of clinical and cost effectiveness

(3)  Introduction to evidence synthesis

(4)  Introduction to survival analysis

(5)  Costs and health outcomes

(6)  Modelling methods for economic evaluation

(7)  Decision-making in HTA: the UK and abroad

(8)  Publication and dissemination


Workshops will cover:

Literature search; critical appraisal of published research; decision analytic modelling using Excel; sensitivity analysis; visualisation of results with Tornado diagrams, cost-effectiveness acceptability curves (CEACs) and differential cost-effectiveness planes; analysing and reasoning in HTA submissions.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities15Lectures / interactive presentations from specialists in health technology assessment 10 hours on-campus if possible, otherwise using videoconferencing software 5 hours asynchronous/using recorded content and preparation
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities10Workshops: 90 minutes of preparation followed by 30 minutes of discussion and review on-campus if possible, otherwise using videoconferencing software
Guided independent study60Additional reading relating to lectures and presentations
Guided independent study45Assessment preparation
Guided independent study20Follow-up and consolidation from workshops


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Completion of practical activities in workshops Throughout the module1-9Verbal feedback in workshops

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Exam3560 minutes unseen1-13Individual written feedback
Coursework essay651500 words1-13Individual written feedback


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Exam (35%)Exam (60 minutes)1-13August/September Referral/Deferral period
Coursework essay (65%)1500 words1-13August/September Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Please see the Student Handbook for guidance


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Edlin R, McCabe C, Hulme C, Hall P, Wright J. Cost Effectiveness Modelling for Health Technology Assessment. A Practical Course. 2015. Springer


Briggs A, Claxton K, Sculpher M. Decision modelling for health economic evaluation. Handbooks in health economic evaluation. 2006. Oxford University Press

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Web based and electronic resources will be available 

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Health technology assessment; HTA; National Institute for Health and Care Excellence; NICE; evidence synthesis; indirect comparison; mixed treatment comparison; meta-analysis; clinical and cost effectiveness; decision analytic model; partitioned survival model; Markov model; decision trees; patient-level simulations incremental cost-effectiveness ratio; 

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date