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Int J Technol Assess Health Care. 2009 Jul;25(3):249-54. doi: 10.1017/S0266462309990249.

Scanning the horizon of obsolete technologies: possible sources for their identification.

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Osteba, Basque Office for Health Technology Assessment, Basque Health Department, Olaguibel 38, Vitoria- Gasteiz, Spain 01004.



The aim of this study was to identify and rank the sources for the detection of potentially obsolete technologies (POTs).


A specific questionnaire related to the search strategies and sources used for the identification of POTs and also for ineffective, inefficient or harmful health technologies was sent to the Health Technology Assessment International's Information Resources Group (HTAi-IRG) group. With the obtained information and taking into account the sources used for the identification of new and emerging technologies, a second questionnaire was elaborated and sent to EuroScan and International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) members, who had to select and score them. For the final ranking, the number of votes and the median score were taken into account.


Seven HTAi-IRG members answered to the first questionnaire. Seventeen agencies answered to the second one (thirteen EuroScan members and four more members from INAHTA), but only seven had worked in the identification of POTs and one of them using only experts for it. The remaining six agencies answered the part related to devices, diagnostics, and procedures; five of them did it for settings and programmes and only three for drugs. The Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (5 votes; median = 2), Cochrane Collaboration (5 votes; median = 3), NICE (4 votes; median = 1), Food and Drug Administration (4 votes; median = 1.5), and EuroScan (4 votes, median = 2) were the most relevant sources for devices and diagnostics.


There is little experience on POTs identification. The identified sources provide mostly indirect information and further research should take place to determine the best use of them.

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