Topic Selection

The CTAF agenda of technologies scheduled for assessment is established by the Agenda Setting Committee and approved by the CTAF Chair.

The Agenda Setting Committee, composed of CTAF members, staff, consultants and medical advisors, is responsible for selecting four to five Technology Assessment topics for review at each Panel Meeting. The Committee meets monthly via teleconference to assure that, at minimum, twelve topics per year are prepared for CTAF review.

The agenda setting process includes consideration of technologies identified through multiple sources:

  • Formal technology forecasts
  • Requests for use of new technologies as expressed by practicing physicians and professional societies
  • Requests by health plans
  • Manufacturer promotion
  • New FDA clearances identified through FDA notification and other media
  • Clinical studies published in professional journals
  • Consumer demand
  • Suggestions submitted via the website
  • New scientific evidence on previous CTAF assessments – existing assessments are reviewed annually for additional scientific evidence that might lead to a reassessment.

Suggested technologies are discussed and ranked by priority based on volume and integrity of supporting data, timeliness, and potential impact.

There are two ways in which the California Technology Assessment Forum may evaluate a new medical technology.

  1. The most commonly used approach is a Technology Assessment. This is an extensive, systematic review of a medical technology undertaken when a minimum set of criteria is met.  The threshold criteria for a complete Technology Assessment include:

    • Approval by the appropriate governmental regulatory body
    • Clinical trial evidence that exceeds case series reports.
  2. Less frequently, a Technology Review will be performed.  Medical technologies for which there is little if any clinical trial evidence — but for which there is demand for use and/or need for education — may be considered for a Technology Review. In such cases, all CTAF’s assessment criteria are applied in an abbreviated chart format. (Example: “Cryoablation for the Treatment of Breast Fibroadenomas,” reviewed by CTAF on February 15, 2006.)