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Dr Elise Berliner Describes the Horizon Scanning System Used by AHRQ

Elise Berliner, PhD, director of the Technology Assessment Program in the Center for Outcomes and Evidence at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, explains how the agency is using horizon scanning to peer into the future of treatments.


Elise Berliner, PhD, director of the Technology Assessment Program in the Center for Outcomes and Evidence at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), explains how the agency is using horizon scanning to peer into the future of treatments.

Transcript (slightly modified for readbility)

What is horizon scanning and how is it currently being used by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality?

The horizon scanning system that AHRQ started about 4-and-a-half years ago in 2010, what we're trying to do is systematically search for new innovations in healthcare that will have an impact in the next 1-2 years. So it's almost like looking into the crystal ball and making a prediction of the future.

What we do is we scan gray literature—we use newspapers and newsletters and company press releases and information from the FDA, and pretty much any source we can find—we look and see what technologies are coming down the pike and we've scanned over 20,000 technologies since this has started in 2010.

We go through a triage process. So we look at all those 20,000 technologies and say, "Did they have an unmet need in healthcare?" So, for example, if something is a me-too drug we wouldn't count it: it would have to have some sort of unmet need, which is that it would have to fulfill a need in the healthcare system that is not currently being met by something else.

So a new drug would either have to be treating a population for which there is no other treatment or it would have to have some sort of improvement in outcome. So after we whittle down the original group of leads that leaves us with 500 to 600 things that we're actively tracking at any time.

 
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