IHE News

IHE assesses evidence grading systems for HTA research

The IHE releases the information paper Evidence grading systems used in health technology assessment practice.

In systematic reviews (SRs) and health technology assessments (HTAs), researchers must gather and consume a large amount of academic literature and extract relevant findings to inform their reports and recommendations. Evidence grading systems (EGSs) are assessment tools that provide an additional layer of methodological rigour, used by researchers to evaluate the quality of this aggregated evidence. Validated and consistent EGSs can play a critical role in whether and how research findings eventually are translated into practice. If evidence grading using these tools is not consistent across different research groups, results have implications for the decisions they inform.

The objective of this study was to identify prominent and reliable EGSs currently used in HTA practice. The results indicate a variable level of uptake of prominent EGSs in HTA practice, with two conceptually similar approaches being the most commonly used. The study cautions that researchers using the identified EGSs should be aware of their potential limitations. Improved guidance on how to consistently apply the identified EGSs, and new tools or modifications to the existing tools to address different research questions and types of evidence, are needed.

To see the results of the review, please see the full paper, available now at:

Please note that this paper was supported by a financial contribution from Alberta Health. The study was initiated by the HTA program at the IHE.

The IHE is an independent, not-for-profit organization that performs excellence in health economics research and health technology assessment. Our core objectives include: supporting decision-making in health policy and practice with evidence from research in health economics and health technology assessment; assessing the medical, economic, social, and ethical implications of both established and new health practices, procedures, and technologies; and facilitating discussions and partnerships among government, academia, industry, and healthcare providers to address important issues in health care. Visit us at www.ihe.ca to learn more.


Jasmine Brown
Director of Communications, Institute of Health Economics
Office: (780) 401-1768 | Cell: (780) 966-4879