What do we need to know? Data sources to support evidence-based decisions using health technology assessment in Ghana

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Hollingworth, Samantha A
Downey, Laura
Ruiz, Francis J
Odame, Emmanuel
Dsane-Selby, Lydia
Gyansa-Lutterodt, Martha
Nonvignon, Justice
Chalkidou, Kalipso
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BACKGROUND: Evidence-based decision-making for prioritising health is assisted by health technology assessment (HTA) to integrate data on effectiveness, costs and equity to support transparent decisions. Ghana is moving towards universal health coverage, facilitated mainly by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) established in 2003. The Government of Ghana is committed to institutionalising HTA for priority-setting. We aimed to identify and describe the sources of accessible data to support HTA in Ghana. METHODS: We identified and described data sources encompassing six main domains using an existing framework. The domains were epidemiology, clinical efficacy, costs, health service use and consumption, quality of life, and equity. We used existing knowledge, views of stakeholders, and searches of the literature and internet. RESULTS: The data sources for each of the six domains vary in extent and quality. Ghana has several large data sources to support HTA (e.g. Demographic Health Surveys) that have rigorous quality assurance processes. Few accessible data sources were available for costs and resource utilisation. The NHIS is a potentially rich source of data on resource use and costs but there are some limits on access. There are some data on equity but data on quality of life are limited. CONCLUSIONS: A small number of quality data sources are available in Ghana but there are some gaps with respect to HTA based on greater use of local and contextualised information. Although more data are becoming available for monitoring, challenges remain in terms of their usefulness for HTA, and some information may not be available in disaggregated form to enable specific analyses. We support recent initiatives for the routine collection of comprehensive and reliable data that is easily accessible for HTA users. A commitment to HTA will require concerted efforts to leverage existing data sources, for example, from the NHIS, and develop and maintain new data (e.g. local health utility estimates). It will be critical that an overarching strategic and mandatory approach to the collection and use of health information is developed for Ghana in parallel to, and informed by, the development of HTA approaches to support resource allocation decisions. The key to HTA is to use the best available data while being open about its limitations and the impact on uncertainty.

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Health Research Policy and Systems
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Hollingworth, SA; Downey, L; Ruiz, FJ; Odame, E; Dsane-Selby, L; Gyansa-Lutterodt, M; Nonvignon, J; Chalkidou, K, What do we need to know? Data sources to support evidence-based decisions using health technology assessment in Ghana, Health Research Policy and Systems, 2020, 18 (1), pp. 41