Is it worth it? The role of Health Technology Assessment (HTA) and using evidence with patients

"These are my people," I thought to myself on the long plane ride West, destined for home to a verdant explosion of nature after three days in snowy Ottawa. Maybe it was the season, but I think it was more the people around me that reignited my enthusiasm for change in health care.

In April, I was invited to Ottawa to be a part of the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) symposium closing plenary on the subject of Health Technology Assessment (HTA), a term that I had (embarrassingly!) not really heard of until receiving that invitation.

Despite feeling woefully out of place as a mere clinician, surrounded by successful policy analysts, clever researchers, health economists, and seasoned advocates, I had an incredible time. As I milled about taking in various presentations and getting my feet wet as part of a panel on Disinvestment, I found myself suddenly realize: everyone around me "gets" it.

What a gift: when you are asked to share your passion, say whatever you want to say, and know that the people listening are listening and nodding "yes" to some of the things that fall out of your mouth?

As I think more and more about how I can have a positive impact on the health and well-being of people, I think about the role of HTA in policy change, and about how evidence belongs to everyone. Being a bit camera-phobic I was reluctant to highlight this 8 minute video, but it was an honour that I do not wish to squander and I hope that some of what I said resonates with you too.

The 2017 CADTH Symposium is Apr 23-25, with the theme "Measuring Value in Theory and the Real World." If you are a student or patient group representative, you may be eligible for a travel scholarship. Check it out!