New health technologies and new uses for existing health technologies seem to emerge almost daily, taking their place alongside the tried and tested. For health care decision-makers, an overabundance of promising technologies may seem like a good problem to have — but it also raises difficult questions. With different technologies available for similar indications, how does one chose one technology over another? How should technology investments be prioritized? What do clinicians and patients need to know about using technologies to achieve the best outcomes? The CADTH Optimal Use program helps answer these questions.
A CADTH Optimal Use project consists of a systematic review of the clinical evidence; a cost effectiveness analysis; a review of the legal, social, and ethical issues; and the development of recommendations, guidance, and tools. Health technologies reviewed under the Optimal Use program include drugs, diagnostic tests, surgical/medical/dental devices, and procedures — but not broad health system issues, such as information technology, program delivery, staffing, and finance.
Making Informed Decisions
Optimal Use is a broad term that is used to help define the effective and efficient use of a health technology. The primary purpose of an Optimal Use project is to inform policy and practice decisions, as well as to encourage the appropriate use of health technologies by health care providers, policy-makers, and consumers. Optimal Use projects can encompass the use of a technology at any point in its life cycle, from introduction to obsolescence. Optimal Use topics are generally of pan-Canadian interest.
Putting the Knowledge to Work
Optimal Use Reports are similar in scope to Health Technology Assessment Reports, but they also include recommendations from one of the CADTH expert committees. Through CADTH's knowledge mobilization efforts, implementation tools and other decision aids are developed to assist policy-makers and clinicians with implementing the recommendations.
Projects are conducted in an open and transparent fashion. CADTH invites input from a broad range of stakeholders, including clinicians, patients, manufacturers, and policy-makers.
Once finalized, CADTH Optimal Use Reports are posted on cadth.ca, where they are freely available to anyone. To find out if there is an Optimal Use Report for a particular topic of interest to you, simply use our search engine or contact the CADTH Liaison Officer nearest you.