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Making the right decisions about new technologies: A perspective on criteria and preferences in hospitals

Gurtner, Sebastian

doi: 10.1097/HMR.0b013e3182993b91

Background: Decision makers in hospitals are regularly faced with choices about the adoption of new technologies. Wrong decisions lead to a waste of resources and can have serious effects on the patients’ and hospital’s well-being.

Purpose: The goal of this research was to contribute to the understanding of decision making in hospitals. This study produced insights regarding relevant decision criteria and explored their specific relevance.

Methodology/Approach: An initial empirical survey was used to collect the relevant criteria for technological decision making in hospitals. In total, 220 experts in the field of health technology assessment from 34 countries participated in the survey. As a second step, the abovementioned criteria were used to form the basis of an analytic hierarchy process model. A group of 115 physicians, medical technical assistants, and other staff, all of whom worked in the field of radiooncology, prioritized the criteria. An analysis of variance was performed to explore differences among groups in terms of institutional and personal categorization variables.

Findings: The first part of the research revealed seven key criteria for technological decision making in hospitals. The analytic hierarchy process model revealed that organizational impact was the most important criterion, followed by budget impact. The analysis of variance indicated that there were differences in the perceptions of the importance of the identified criteria.

Practical Implications: This exploration of the criteria for technological decision making in hospitals will help decision makers consider all of the relevant aspects, leading to more structured and rational decisions. For the optimal resource allocation, all of the relevant stakeholder perspectives and local issues must be considered appropriately.

Sebastian Gurtner, PhD, is Head of Research Group InnoTech4Health, Technische Universität Dresden, Germany. E-mail:

The author has disclosed that he has no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins