Australian Government - Department of Health and Ageing

Horizon Scanning


The Horizon Scanning Process

Australia and New Zealand Horizon Scanning Network

Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council (AHMAC)

Adelaide Health Technology Assessment (AHTA)

Australian Safety and Efficacy Register of New Interventional Procedures - Surgical

Australia and New Zealand Horizon Scanning Network - About Horizon Scanning

Horizon Scanning is a specialised and distinct activity conducted for a different purpose to standard HTA.

Horizon Scanning provides, short, rapidly completed, 'state of play' documents. These provide current information on technologies to alert planners and policy makers of the advent and potential impact in terms of safety and cost, before they are introduced into the health system.

This can then assist planners and policy makers to control and monitor the introduction of new health technologies. It will also assist in the prioritisation and allocation of resources to ensure maximum utilisation of resources at least cost.

The Purposes of Horizon Scanning/Early Warning Systems are to :

In addition to new and emerging technologies, Horizon Scanning can also provide timely information about changes in the delivery and use of existing technologies.
Top of page

Sources of Information

Various sources are used to identify health technologies. These include:
Top of page

Limitations of Horizon Scanning Briefs

Methodological issues and the relevance or currency of information provided over time are paramount in any assessment carried out in the early horsizon scanning of health technology.

Horizon Scanning forms an integral component of Health Technology Assessment. However it is a specialised and quite distinct activity conducted for an entirely different purpose, and which requires different methodologies to standard Health Technology Assessment. The rapid evolution of technological advances can in some cases overtake the speed at which trials or other reviews are conducted. In many cases, by the time the studies have been completed, the technology may have evolved to a higher level leaving the technology under investigation obsolete and replaced.

As a 'state of play' assessment, an Horizon Scanning Brief in the context of a rapidly evolving technology, can present a trade off between the value of early, uncertain information, versus the value of certain, but late information which may be of limited relevance to decision makers due to implementation of earlier decisions.
Top of page

Scope of the HealthPACT Horizon Scanning during 2003 - 2010

Health technologies that were considered include devices, diagnostic tests and procedures, and other surgical and non-surgical interventions.

While it is recognised that pharmaceuticals are of major importance in the health system, pharmaceuticals were not included in HealthPACT's horizon scanning activities during this period.
Top of page

Page currency, Latest update: 28 October, 2009