A series of events to support the China Health Policy & Technology Assessment Network, led by CNHDRC, the iDSI China HTA hub

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17th, 21st-22nd  February 2017, China National Health Development Research Centre (CNHDRC) and Global Health and Development Group (GHD), Imperial College London organised a series of events in Xiamen which further illustrate China’s ongoing commitment to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of its health services.

The first day started with the dissemination meeting of a project supported by the UK Prosperity Fund. The project, led by CNHDRC, focused on utilising UK expertise to support the development of standardised methods to generate evidence-based care pathways for chronic disease in China. The division director of CNHDRC, Prof Kun Zhao, outlines the aim of developing a standardized approach to developing and updating clinical guidelines in China, with a practical application to existing care pathways and guidelines in hypertension and diabetes, currently in use in Xiamen and Qingdao.

The meeting continued with an overview by experts from Xiamen and Qingdao on the ongoing efforts to improve the management of patients with chronic diseases. At the end of the meeting Prof Mike Roberts from UCL Partners shared some experiences on transforming health care towards evidence-based practices and current thinking on new integrated care models in the UK. He emphasized the importance of establishing standardised guidelines to provide high quality and equitable care for the whole Chinese population.

During the afternoon of the 17th, a leadership training workshop was delivered. At the beginning of the workshop, participants were familiarized by the theory on how to implement change and introduce new guidelines into clinical practice.  Later on, effective team leadership strategies in implementing change were discussed.  The training was attended by senior officials from Xiamen Health Bureau and Qingdao Health Bureau, representatives from tertiary and secondary hospitals, nurses, local administrative officials as well as clinicians. The knowledge gained from the workshop is expected to help local stakeholders build effective clinical teams to implement the new guidelines in an efficient manner.

The following week, a workshop was held over two days on ‘Health Policy Evaluation and Technology Assessment Knowledge Sharing’. This workshop was organised in order to help support the momentum generated by the newly launched China Health Policy and Technology Assessment Network, with CNHDRC in the role of focal point of the network (the iDSI China HTA hub).  The workshop was opened by Hongwei Yang, the deputy Director General of CNHDRC, Prof Kun Zhao and Dr Kalipso Chalkidou, Director of the GHD. The aims, objectives and structure of the nascent China HTA network were introduced. In addition, the workshop explored a number of topics considered highly relevant for HTA development in China. These include the role of the iDSI Reference Case and how it may be adapted for a Chinese context; evaluating non-budgetary constraints; health system strengthening; measuring HTA impact; economic evaluation and public health; adapting HTAs; and HTA and medical devices.  For each thematic area there were presentations from UK-based academics and Chinese researchers, as well as experts from the Thai HTA agency, HITAP. HITAP colleagues shared their experiences of how HTA was used to inform UHC policy in Thailand. The workshop concluded with reflections on the working plan for the China network as an iDSI HTA hub, and exploring new collaborations and next steps.

In terms of next steps, it was highlighted that a key objective should be to increase the number of members of the China Health Policy and Technology Assessment Network and on standardising the methodology used in developing clinical guidelines, especially for chronic diseases in China.