spring 2021
HEL-3055 Health Technology Assessment and Medical Decision-making - 10 ECTS

Last changed 12.05.2021

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 overlap

HEL-3055 Health technology assessment 10 stp

Course content

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 systematic reviews for healthcare policy and decision making.

The course begins with an overview of the history and development of evidence-based practice and systematic reviews, and provides an introduction to concepts of evidence and research. Much of the course concerns the steps of conducting systematic reviews, including forming research questions, literature searching, selecting a range of study designs, performing risk of bias assessments, conducting meta-analyses, and judging certainty in the estimate of effect.

The course continues with a short overview of ethical, financial, 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

Objectives of the course The student should be familiar with the principles of HTA and systematic reviews, and the role of HTA and systematic reviews 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 •    Determine different study designs •    Assess the risk of bias in different study designs •    Explain the core principles of meta-analyses •    Perform an evaluation of the certainty of the estimate of effect •    Identify ethical, organizational and similar issues to be analyzed in an HTA •    Explain different decision-making processes in healthcare

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. 


  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 10
  • Course code: HEL-3055