spring 2017
HEL-3055 Health Technology Assessment and Medical Decision-making - 10 ECTS

Application deadline

Applicants from Nordic countries: 1 June for the autumn semester and 1 December for the spring semester.

Applicants from outside the Nordic countries: 1 October for the spring semester and 15 April for the autumn semester.

Type of course

This course is mandatory for students at the Master's degree programme in Public Health. Course students may be admitted if total number of students do not exceed the regulated 30 number of students at the course.

Admission requirements

Recommended prerequisite: Basic epidemiology. Admission criteria: Basic medical statistics (HEL-1002 or equivalent). The same as for the Master's programme in Public Health. See the programme page.

Application Code: 9371 (Nordic applicants).

Course overlap

If you pass the examination in this course, you will get an reduction in credits (as stated below), if you previously have passed the following courses:

HEL-3055 Health technology assessment 10 stp

Course content

The course covers the key principles of health technology assessment (HTA) and systematic review as tools to evaluate both positive and negative impacts of technologies, techniques, devices, programs and interventions used in public health. A national and international focus is taken of HTA for healthcare policy and decision making.

The course begins with an overview of the history and development of evidence-based practice and HTA. It provides an introduction to concepts of evidence, different research questions, literature searching, a range of study designs, risk of bias assessment, and understanding meta-analyses.

The course continues with an overview of ethical, organizational and related issues for decision-making and priority setting in healthcare, as well as different decision making processes on the introduction of healthcare technologies.

Objectives of the course

The student should be familiar with the principles of health technology assessment, and the role of health technology assessment in healthcare decision-making.

The student should be able to:

  • Describe the concept of evidence-based practice
  • Formulate research questions in a PICO format
  • Apply the principles of systematic literature searching
  • Assess the risk of bias in different study designs
  • Explain the core principles of meta-analyses
  • Identify ethical, organizational and similar issues to be analyzed in an HTA
  • Explain different decision-making processes in healthcare

Language of instruction and examination


Teaching methods

The course will require students' presence on campus during two teaching periods; one in January and the second in March or April. Attendance during the on-campus teaching is mandatory.

The primary method of course instruction is lectures, but there will also be seminars, class discussions and group work. Teaching is in English, but written assignments and exam may be answered in English, Norwegian, Swedish or Danish.


Compulsory assignment: One home assignment 3-5 days writing time, the paper should be 2000-2500 words long. Marked as approved or not approved. In order to take the assignment, attendance during the on-campus teaching is required. 

Exam: The exam is an individual take-home written exam, which must be completed within 5 days. The paper should be 2500-3000 words, excluding tables. In order to take the exam, the obligatory assignment must be approved.

Both the assignment and exam are individual tests. They may be completed in English, Norwegian, Danish or Swedish.

Grading scale: A-E (pass) and F (fail).

If a student fails the course, an examination re-sit will be organized. Students with a valid absence from the exam will be offered a re-scheduled examination. 

Recommended reading/syllabus

Recommended reading

Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions (version 5.1.0). Chapters 5, 6, 8, 9, 13, 15, 20. Available online: http://handbook.cochrane.org/

HTA 101: Introduction to Health Technology Assessment, by Clifford Goodman 2014. Available online: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/nichsr/hta101/HTA_101_FINAL_7-23-14.pdf

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  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 10
  • Course code: HEL-3055
  • Tidligere år og semester for dette emnet