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spring 2020

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

Sist endret: 22.01.2020

The course is provided by

Faculty of Health Sciences


Tromsø |

Application deadline

Applicants from Nordic countries: 1. December.

Applicants from outside the Nordic countries: 1. October 

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 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 gives an overview of the history and development of evidence-based practice and HTA. It provides an introduction to concepts of evidence, different research questions, a range of study designs, literature searching, risk of bias assessment, and meta-analyses. The course also examines financial, ethical and related issues for decision-making and priority setting in healthcare, as well as decision making processes concerning the introduction of healthcare technologies.

Objectives of the course

The students should be able to:

Knowledge and understanding

  • Define central principles of evidence-based practice (EBP) and HTA
  • Explain various perspectives of the concept evidence
  • Describe the key difference between HTA and systematic review
  • Explain important considerations regarding data syntheses, especially meta-analyses
  • Describe the steps involved in conducting a HTA or systematic review

Skills and competences

  • Formulate research questions in a PICO format
  • Identify the best suited study designs for specific research questions
  • Apply the principles of systematic literature searching in at least one database
  • Perform a risk of bias assessment of different study designs
  • Perform a GRADE assessmentIdentify and interpret the main results in scientific papers
  • Identify and interpret the main results in scientific papers

General proficiency

  • Discuss different decision-making processes in healthcare and the role of HTA in healthcare decision-making, including financial, ethical, judicial and similar issues to be analyzed in an HTA

Language of instruction


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.


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.

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. 

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. 

Date for examination

Take-home examination hand out date 25.03.2020 hand in date 01.04.2020

The date for the exam can be changed. The final date will be announced in the StudentWeb early in May and early in November.


Course overlap

HEL-3055 Health technology assessment 10 stp