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About Environmental Scanning

Health care decision-makers must deal with a complex and shifting landscape. Fresh evidence emerges daily, patient needs change, and new technologies are introduced alongside the old. Given this context, it can be challenging to know whether health care technologies are being used appropriately.

CADTH conducts environmental scans of health care practices, processes, and protocols inside and outside of Canada. Environmental scans inform decision-makers about the use of health technologies across jurisdictions, particularly with respect to practice variation and policy gaps. They also help guide topic selection for other CADTH products, such as our Health Technology Assessments (HTAs) and Optimal Use projects.

Big-Picture Thinking

CADTH Environmental Scan reports are often prepared in response to specific requests received from CADTH customers to support their decision-making. Topics selected are issues of pan-Canadian interest.

Recent examples include:

  • subsequent entry biologics — emerging trends in regulatory and health technology assessment frameworks
  • reprocessing of single-use medical devices
  • hospital formulary decision-making processes
  • initiatives to optimize the use of laboratory testing.

Taking the Pulse

Operating an effective environmental scanning program is accomplished through the creation of an extensive network of health care stakeholders. The development of an Environmental Scan report involves either surveying stakeholders or performing a literature search, or both. The objective is to better understand how both new and existing health care technologies are being used and reimbursed.

Spreading the Word

Once finalized, CADTH Environmental Scan reports are posted on cadth.ca, where they are freely available to anyone. To find out if there is an Environmental Scan for a particular topic of interest to you, simply use our search engine or contact the CADTH Liaison Officer nearest you.