Policy, Policy Makers, Policy Questions, Clinical Question

NOKC, Norway

The success of HTA is its impact on decision-making processes. Thus the concept of HTA was developed to suit the demand for policy making by apply the context specific analysis for brokering science into policy.

Whether the HTA process meets the demand from policy makers is an important question, and there is a tension between the need for rigorous and high quality assessments on the one hand, and relevant and timely outputs to feed into decision-making processes on the other hand.

International collaboration might enable more HTA-reports to be in time with policy making processes.

Servicio de Evaluacion y Planificacion, Canary Islands

A policy is a predefined plan of action to guide decisions and actions. The term may apply to governments, private sector organisations, groups, or individuals. The policy process includes the identification of different alternatives, programs or priorities, and choosing among them on the basis of the evidence about the impact they will have. Policies can be understood as political, management, financial, and administrative mechanisms arranged to reach explicit goals.


A policy is a course or principle of action adopted or proposed by an organisation or individual.
A policymaker is a person responsible for or involved in formulating policies.
(Source: Oxford English Dictionary)

DSI, Denmark

A policy is an overall plan embracing general goals or ideas. It will almost always include an objective and some method of action selected among alternatives to guide decisions.

A policy question is the object for the overall policy or related one of the alternatives. For example a heath policy could be treatment of patients’ diabetes and a policy question related to that policy could be how often the patients with diabetes type II should be screened for retinopathy.


Clinical question. In the field of evidence based healthcare, the patient-intervention-comparison-outcome (PICO) formula is widely used to construct a clinical question.

P - patient, population of patients, problem
I - intervention (e.g. a therapy, test)
C - comparator or control (e.g. another therapy, placebo)
O - outcome