Multi-criteria decision analysis for health technology resource allocation and assessment: so far and so near?
Multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) is an emerging tool that allows the integration of relevant factors for health technology assessment (HTA). This study aims to present a summary of the methodological characteristics of MCDA: definitions, approaches, applications, and implementation stages. A case study was conducted in the São Paulo State Cancer Institute (ICESP) in order to understand the perspectives of decision-makers in the process of drafting a recommendation for the incorporation of technology in the Brazilian Unified National Health System (SUS), through a report by the Brazilian National Commission for the Incorporation of Technologies in the SUS (CONITEC). Paraconsistent annotated evidential logic Eτ was the methodological approach adopted in the study, since it can serve as an underlying logic for constructs capable of synthesizing objective information (from the scientific literature) and subjective information (from experts’ values and preferences in the area of knowledge). It also allows the incorporation of conflicting information (contradictions), as well as vague and even incomplete information in the valuation process, resulting from imperfection of the available scientific evidence. The method has the advantages of allowing explicit consideration of the criteria that influenced the decision, facilitating follow-up and visualization of process stages, allowing assessment of the contribution of each criterion separately, and in aggregate, to the decision’s outcome, facilitating the discussion of diverging perspectives by different stakeholder groups, and increasing the understanding of the resulting recommendations. The use of an explicit MCDA approach should facilitate conflict mediation and optimize participation by different stakeholder groups.