Don’t let new health technologies catch you off guard

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With an ever increasing number of medical technologies being developed every year, this is truly an exciting era of medical innovation. But, it can be difficult to keep on top of all the new developments. We learn about new and emerging health care innovations from journals and conferences. We may even be caught off guard hearing about the “latest and greatest” technology from colleagues — or from patients.

’s new alerts you to the emerging technologies you could be making decisions about in the near future. CADTH — an independent, evidence-based health technology agency — is continually scanning the horizon for emerging drugs, medical devices, and procedures likely to have a significant impact on patient care and the health care system.

The focus of Horizon Scan Roundup is on medical devices, procedures, and diagnostic tests. It provides brief descriptions of new technologies and links to horizon scanning reports that have been published in the previous year by major international horizon scanning services and selected health organizations recognized for their identification of innovative technologies. These organizations include AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality), CNESH (Canadian Network for Environmental Scanning in Health), ECRI Institute, NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence), NIHR (National Institute for Health Research), CADTH, and several others.

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The first edition of Horizon Scan Roundup is now available, free of charge, on the CADTH website at www.cadth.ca/horizon-scan-roundup. It lists and summarizes 130 titles that were published in 2014, organized by 19 topic areas, and it includes links to the full text of the published reports. Technologies for a wide range of medical purposes are described, including new tools for detecting and monitoring diabetes, diagnosing stroke and brain injury, and screening for eye conditions in children; less invasive surgical options for treating mitral regurgitation and for inserting tubes to treat children with middle ear infections; video games for mental health issues in young people; a patch that transmits the wearer’s vital signs to a web-enabled device; and robots that deliver telemedicine. CADTH plans to publish a new edition of Horizon Scan Roundup each year.

Horizon Scan Roundup is produced by CADTH’s own Horizon Scanning program, which publishes bulletins on what is currently known about new and emerging health care technologies that could impact the Canadian health care system. One component of CADTH’s Horizon Scanning process is to systematically monitor what other international horizon scanning agencies and services have been tracking and evaluating for their own jurisdictions. Horizon Scan Roundup is developed from the information generated through this monitoring activity.

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CADTH Horizon Scanning bulletins, which are produced and posted on the CADTH website regularly throughout the year, are another resource you can use to stay informed of new and emerging . These peer-reviewed bulletins contain all the evidence-based information available on a variety of medical technologies, including prescription drugs, not yet available or widely used in Canada at the time of publication. They provide a complete picture — a description of the technology, patient indications, the regulatory status, adverse effects, costs, the extent of diffusion, and implementation issues, all within a Canadian context. You can access the CADTH Horizon Scanning bulletins, at no charge, at www.cadth.ca/environmental-scanning.

Learning about new and emerging health technologies in advance helps you with planning and prioritizing, gives you an idea of what we know about the technology — and what we don’t, and helps you better understand the appropriate place of the new technologies with respect to existing ones, as well as how quickly they might become widely used. Because of CADTH’s role as a pan-Canadian source for evidence — and thanks to our extensive network of health care professionals, scientists, health economists, patient groups, and policy-makers — we serve as a nexus for information on emerging health technologies.

To learn more about CADTH, visit www.cadth.ca, follow us on Twitter: @CADTH_ACMTS, or talk to our Liaison Officer in your region: www.cadth.ca/contact-us/liaison-officers