Bermuda Health Council Accepted Into RedETSA

March 15, 2019

The Bermuda Health Council has announced its acceptance into the Health Technology Assessment Network of the Americas [RedETSA, Red de Evaluación de Tecnologías en Salud de las Américas].

A spokesperson said, “RedETSA is a network of 34 institutions from 17 countries, which has been recognised by the Pan-America Health Organisation [PAHO] and World Health Organisation [WHO] as a leader for health technology assessment [HTA] processes in the Americas. This prestigious group of innovative countries endeavors to balance the value of new health technologies and services, while ensuring equity and access to clinical care.

“Transforming health for the better is challenging, but attempting to do so in a vacuum can be near impossible. Bermuda is not alone in tackling health expenditures while seeking better outcomes for patients. Acceptance into RedETSA gives the Council access to proprietary capacity reports, and value assessments produced by the member organisations. These reports would otherwise be dispersed, untranslated, or inaccessible. RedETSA membership also provides Bermuda with a sounding board, giving the Council access to a range of experts and innovators.

“This access allows the Council to discuss and evaluate our health system through the lens of 17 other jurisdictions, learning from the experience each has had. The Council plans to use this opportunity to lead on regional issues, and establish Bermuda as a model country for health innovation and system reform.”

Dr. Ricky Brathwaite, Acting CEO and Director, Health Economics, said “These types of global partnerships are very important as the Health Council must grow beyond just being Bermuda’s ‘health watchdog’. The Council is acutely focused on activities on a local level, but we cannot silo ourselves off and expect to keep pace with our international peers.”

“The Health Council began offering Health Technology Reviews [HTR], a reduced version of HTAs, in 2016. HTRs are designed to analyse Bermuda’s health system capacity and risks based on requests from: businesses, health providers, insurers, and other health system stakeholders. Simply put, new [and sometimes existing] services, technologies, programmes, and processes are reviewed to determine their value for money in the health system.

“This review process is also in place to help startup or expanding health businesses to be 1] more informed of forecasted changes in the health sector, 2] evaluate current health system conditions, 3] collect feedback from other established providers, and 4] have up-to-date information. The information provided by the Council allows stakeholders to make informed decisions on how to best position their business, and to determine if the market has the capacity to support their proposed operations.”

David Rogers, Policy Analyst, said, “If you have a product, or service idea which may be beneficial to the island, share your ideas with the Health Council. Have a talk with us early in your planning process. We have data and consumer insights that would be helpful. We want stakeholders to take advantage of our diverse skill areas in ways that are collaborative and productive for the system. It is through this type of bilateral communication that we can learn about new ways to improve our health, which is something we, at the Council, are really open to.”

“To this end, each HTR requires the Council to create a bespoke report inclusive of multi-jurisdictional utilisation data, local system needs analysis, clinical standards, and best practices, workforce per capita research, and expected system expenditure forecast. A review committee of health professionals, insurers, health statutory boards, and other relevant stakeholders is established. They are tasked with blindly evaluating the application, and making comments and recommendations as needed. Applicants then receive a correspondence summarizing the evaluation.”

Jen Ince, Speech-Language Therapist at Apex Allied Health, said, “We recently identified a service that is needed in Bermuda and not currently being provided. This diagnostic procedure is increasingly available in other jurisdictions, allowing people to be seen for services in their homes. Not having this service required many individuals to go overseas for evaluation, and put a strain on primary and secondary healthcare costs on island.

“The Bermuda Health Council was extremely helpful in guiding us through the process for submitting a proposal. The Health Technology Review [HTR] was straightforward but comprehensive; we submitted a detailed report based on current research and best evidence-based practice. We are excited to have gained the Council’s ‘no objection’ and are in the process of bringing this much-needed service to the island.”

“The Health Council is grateful for the dozens of health representatives who gave their time and expertise during this time.

“The Council has been a member of PAHO’s Technical Working Group on HTAs since 2015, participated in training through the International Society for Phamacoeconomics and Outcomes Research [ISPOR], and has conducted research on World Health Organisation standards and best practices.”

Dr. Brathwaite said, “With our new RedETSA membership, the Council feels the time is right to enhance its HTR processes. During 2019, the HTRs will begin transitioning to full HTAs, a process that further emphasizes efficiency, cost, quality, and access.”

Sevonne Scott, Assistant Vice President Life and Health Claims at BF&M Limited, said, “The Council’s implementation of a HTR process has been beneficial as it has allowed for better oversight, collaboration, and discussion related to new health/technology services in the Bermuda’s healthcare environment. This has allowed for better decisions when determining the appropriateness of those services for benefiting the health community, while reviewing expertise, safety, quality, and effectiveness of services.”

“The Council is expecting to continue its collaboration with the diverse categories of health service providers and practitioners operating on the island. In addition, we will be soliciting their feedback on the usefulness, ease, and possible additions to the HTA programme. With an eye on capacity growth, the Council is currently in contact with ISPOR about forming a Student Chapter on the island, for the next generation of health system leaders. This would be the first student chapter of the organization in the Caribbean region.

“The Health Council believes the centre of our health system is the patient and ensuring the best care in the right setting is what we are consistently working towards. We engage in health innovation and creativity to transform health and improve our local system through modern health policy and innovative research.”

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