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How to Use a Living HTA Approach to Demonstrate Value in Real-Time

When submitting systematic literature reviews to a Health Technology Assessment authority, high volumes of research output have led industry bodies like PRISMA and Cochrane to call for a paradigm shift towards ‘Living HTA’ models that organize and update evidence in a more continuous manner. In the past decade such concepts have been introduced for both SLRs and network meta-analyses, but the industry has been hesitant to take up this approach in practice. A new Cytel whitepaper aims to provide a blueprint for those seeking to access evidence quickly, and integrate the most up-to-date science into research, such as SLRs.

What is a Living HTA Model?

The idea of a Living HTA Model is probably familiar to many who conduct SLRs and NMAs, and need to constantly update their model as data accrues. These models anticipate the evolution of knowledge in a fast-paced industry. According to the European Commission’s Next Generation Health Technology Assessment, such models should ideally be able to handle both the updating of newly published evidence, as well as account for missing data and sensitivity analysis. As a result, they should also be useful for ensuring transparent clinical and public health decision-making in light of such new evidence.

While it is one thing for the European Commission or World Health Organization to plan for the grand synchronization of evidence, how can the average organization ensure that their HTA submissions live up to this ideal? Although seemingly an ambitious task, new digital tools and collaboration in the aftermath of COVID-19 allow this dictum to be a realizable goal.

A recent client of Cytel’s for example, was asked to provide an SLR within a 2-month window, in a therapeutic area where 50 new abstracts are published on a monthly basis. Thankfully, they were able to utilize an existing Cytel library (The PubTracker) of research abstracts curated by disease, and constantly updated by Cytel experts. The notion of a curated disease library is essential for any living model, enabling sponsors to access all relevant evidence in minutes.

In addition to updating the content of such a curated library, Cytel’s data scientists have ensured that those using The PubTracker can quickly search by interventions, indications and study types, as well as the elements constituting a global value dossier. Since the library is curated by experts, they can also be customized depending on the needs of a specific client’s SLR. One client, for example, requested a customization that led to over 450 RWE publications added for the specific disease of interest.

What is LiveSLR?

LiveSLR is a digital tool that works with PubTracker to ensure SLRs are quickly generated that maintain the standards set by HTA authorities. These NICE-grade SLRs are quickly assembled for sponsors, consolidating information through what is essentially a Living SLR model. Sponsors, though, are no longer responsible for building their own live models. They can rely on the services of the PubTracker curators, when they subscribe to this digital tool to create SLR reports.

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About the Author of Blog: 


Dr. Esha Senchaudhuri is a research and communications specialist, committed to helping scholars and scientists translate their research findings to public and private sector executives. At Cytel Esha leads content strategy and content production across the company's five business units. She received a doctorate from the London School of Economics in philosophy, and is a former early-career policy fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has taught medical ethics at the Harvard School of Public Health (TH Chan School), and sits on the Steering Committee of the Society for Women in Philosophy's Eastern Division, which is responsible for awarding the Distinguished Woman in Philosophy Award. 



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