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Gaceta Sanitaria

versão impressa ISSN 0213-9111


VARELA-LEMA, Leonor; ATIENZA-MERINO, Gerardo  e  LOPEZ-GARCIA, Marisa. Priority setting of health interventions. Review of criteria, approaches and role of assessment agencies. Gac Sanit [online]. 2017, vol.31, n.4, pp.349-357. ISSN 0213-9111.


This study was carried out to develop an explicit health priority setting methodology to support decision-making regarding the technologies to be assessed for inclusion in the National Health Service service portfolio. The primary objective is to identify and analyse the criteria, approaches and conceptual frameworks used for national/international priority setting.


An exhaustive review of the literature was carried out. For this purpose, a search of the main biomedical databases was performed and assessment agency websites were reviewed, among other sources.


In general terms, it was found that there are no standardised criteria for priority setting, although some consensus and common trends have been identified regarding key elements (criteria, models and strategies, key actors, etc.). Globally, 8 key domains were identified: 1) need for intervention; 2) health outcomes; 3) type of benefit of the intervention; 4) economic consequences; 5) existing knowledge on the intervention/quality of and uncertainties regarding the evidence; 6) implementation and complexity of the intervention/feasibility; 7) priority, justice and ethics; and 8) overall context.


The review provides a thorough analysis of the relevant issues and offers key recommendations regarding considerations for developing a national prioritisation framework. Findings are envisioned to be useful for different public organisations that are aiming to establish healthcare priorities.

Palavras-chave : Health technology assessment; Decision making; Health priorities; Criteria; Resource allocation.

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