Health Research Methodology Program

Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Field of Specialization

The Health Research Methodology (HRM)  Program at McMaster University offers an interdisciplinary educational model that draws on faculty members from numerous departments and disciplines in the faculties of Health Sciences, Science and Social Sciences.  The HRM Program offers students the opportunity to specialize in one of five fields. The fields of specialization are: Clinical Epidemiology; Biostatistics (PhD Only); Health Services Research; Population and Public Health; Health Technology Assessment; and HRM Classic.

Health Technology Assessment (HTA) is defined as the evaluation of the clinical effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and broader impact of drugs, medical technologies, and health systems, both on patient health and the health care system.  HTA has gained increasing importance in health care decision making locally and around the world and over the last decade there have been numerous important methodological advances in the techniques of HTA. 

The goal of the HTA field of specialization is to train individuals who, upon graduation, will have the necessary skills to be actively involved in independent and collaborative research in the field of HTA. Graduates will possess the following skills: a strong foundation in the basic principles of HTA; advanced decision analysis; ability to apply research methods derived from health economics; understand and use basic and advanced biostatistics; and utilize health services research and health policy analysis concepts and methods.

PATH faculty members co-ordinate and teach in several HTA courses.

HRM 721- Fundamentals of Health Research & Evaluation Methods

Course Co-ordinator:  Mitch Levine

The major components of research activities are covered, including concept of health, formulation of research questions, literature reviews, study designs, selection of study populations, choice of measuring instruments, and study interpretation issues such as determination of causality and the effectiveness of clinical and community interventions.

HRM 740- Advanced Decision Analysis in Health Technology Assessment

Course Co-ordinator:  Jean-Eric Tarride and Feng Xie


This is an advanced course in methods for HTA. The course covers areas of systematic literature reviews, economic evaluation, analyses of uncertainty, value of information analyses, Bayesian decision analyses, quality assurance in economic appraisal, budget impact analysis, and knowledge translation.

HRM 741 –Introduction to Health Technology Assessment


Course Co-ordinator:  Daria O'Reilly


Students will learn the skills to evaluate the quality of an HTA, to critically appraise it to make a judgment about a study’s methods, results and conclusions. Students will be become adept in conducting HTAs and be mindful of the barriers to, and facilitators of, evidence-based decision making in the real world.