The Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) supported by the Health Technology Assessment Unit (HTAU) remains committed towards supporting the Department of Health (DOH) as it continues to lead the Inter-Agency Task Force for COVID-19 (IATF) in responding to the ongoing pandemic.
HTAC recognizes the rapidly evolving situation which requires immediate and effective response efforts across various sectors and government agencies as well as the deployment of innovative tools, health technologies and interventions concerned with detection, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19.
A strong health emergency response requires that decision-makers employ the best available scientific evidence in answering inquiries on the potential clinical benefits and the social, economic and health system implications of emerging diagnostics, therapies and public health strategies to prevent and control the virus.
To provide decision-makers evidence-based guidance in responding to the pandemic, the HTAU has conducted rapid reviews to support the recommendations of HTAC on various COVID-19 health technologies:
1. Investigational drugs
2. SARS-CoV-2 real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)-based test kits
3. Lateral flow kits
a. Rapid antibody-based test (RAT) kits
4. Huawei Cloud Artificial Intelligence (AI)-assisted diagnosis
5. AMTI uAI-Discover-PNA
6. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)
HTAC values the importance of collaboration and consultation in developing its various recommendations and guidance documents for COVID-19 to ensure that they respond to the decision needs of policy makers and frontliners who make use of the different health technologies in managing patients and containing outbreaks.
Dr. Marita Reyes, Chair of the HTAC, sees an ever greater need to work closely with decision-makers and different experts from various fields. This is to ensure clear, responsive, and actionable scientific recommendations that could fortify the government response in accordance with the additional HTAC mandates as stipulated in the recently passed Republic Act No. 11469, otherwise known as “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.”
HTAC has been working closely with infectious disease experts from the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (PSMID) since the pandemic began to ensure alignment in scientific guidelines. More recently, the HTAC has also started discussions with experts from the DOH Technical Advisory Group (TAG) for COVID-19 and the Health Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC) in developing screening and management strategies for at-risk populations. Recommendations made from the appraisals will primarily serve as guidance in developing a public health policy most responsive to the health care needs of special populations, as well as for the management of public health emergencies.
As knowledge on COVID-19 continues to widen, the need for public health decisions grounded on scientific evidence becomes increasingly crucial. The key role of HTA, therefore, is to support national research efforts and inform decision-making to ensure that patients have access to the best tools and health technologies.
Reviews on COVID-19 technologies are now available at the HTA website. For more information, visit https://hta.doh.gov.ph/assessments/