The Basque Government receives the baton in Brazil to organise the 2012 HTAi conference
During the closing ceremony at the eighth conference of the International Society for the Promotion of Health Technology Assessment (HTAi), the Director for Knowledge Management and Assessment at the Department for Health and Consumer Affairs, José Asua Batarrita, officially pledged on behalf of the Basque Government to organise the next annual HTAi conference. The event will be held at Bilbao's Euskalduna Conference Centre from the 23rd to the 27th of June 2012.
The theme of the 2012 edition of the conference will be "Assessing Health Technologies Focused on Comprehensive Care Within a Patient-Centred Healthcare System". Asua explained that "comprehensive care should not only be a solution for developed countries, but also for those with emerging economies: patients should be guaranteed a level of attention that places them at the heart of the system and ensures that technological solutions are designed to meet their needs. A comprehensive approach to patient care also makes it possible to use resources more efficiently, which is of fundamental importance in places where resources are scarce or limited and in those where sustainability is crucial."
At present, healthcare systems and practices are facing problems such as multiple entry points, inadequate use of expensive and scarce resources, waiting lists and defective information transfer between professionals and also between professionals and patients. It is clear that conducting an assessment of healthcare systems is key to guaranteeing their quality, effectiveness and efficiency.The International Society for the Promotion of Health Technology Assessment (HTAi) encompasses all the organisations that produce, use and work with products pertaining to the field of Health Technology Assessment (HTA). At next year's conference in Bilbao, over a thousand professionals from the sector will be able to share experiences and discuss key issues in this knowledge area. The event provides a unique opportunity to meet experts in HTA, learn about the latest advances in methodology and examine the results of assessments carried out in other healthcare contexts.
The local organising committee responsible for the Bilbao event will be directed by José Asua, who is also a member of the board of directors of the International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessment (INHTA), and Rosa Rico Iturrioz, the head of the health-technology assessment service, Osteba, who boasts a great deal of experience in producing guides for good clinical practice, figuring as a member of the Guidelines International Network's (GIN) Scientific Committee. Also sitting on the organising committee will be Iñaki Gutiérrez Ibarluzea, M. Asunción Gutiérrez Iglesias and Marta López de Argumedo, all professionals from Osteba.
The conference in Bilbao
Throughout the conference in Rio de Janeiro different representatives from HTAi and other networks and agencies involved in HTA spoke about their expectations for 2012.
"The scientific program we will prepare at this event will look at the state of the art of HTA, particularly issues relating to patient-centred activities. As a result, we hope to bring together experts from around the world to discuss problems, challenges and successes in this area", affirmed Guy Maddern, HTAi member and President of the International Scientific Committee for HTAi 2012.
Laura Sampietro-Colom, the President of HTAi and joint president of the aforementioned scientific committee, is convinced that the Bilbao conference will prove to be extremely popular given that "the theme chosen is highly relevant: healthcare systems are increasingly more integrated and there is a need for more health technology that genuinely facilitates this integration".
Marjukka Markeela, the Director of the FIN0HTA organisation and editor of the International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care (the leading journal in the field), confirmed that she "knows the people who are organising this event, and they have a solid scientific base. It is also a positive move that the different Spanish agencies are collaborating in terms of the organisation of the conference".
Finally, Brandon Kearney from the Australian organisation HPACT, who is also the President of the EuroScan network, remarked that "the Bilbao conference will be a very interesting opportunity, as the HTA field is growing very rapidly and doing a great deal of relevant work. As part of the HTAi family, OSTEBA has been a key driver in meeting this objective".