Objectives: This study explores the factors that enhance or reduce the prospects for public involvement in the activities of health technology assessment (HTA) agencies.
Methods: The analytical framework for this study is based on the work of John W. Kingdon, which provides a comprehensive synthesis of the factors influencing governments and public organizations' agenda. The study draws insights from forty-two semistructured telephone interviews with informants involved in international HTA networks and/or in HTA agencies in Canada, Denmark, and the United Kingdom.
Results: This exploratory study suggests that the HTA community is moving toward greater public involvement. However, the HTA community remains cautious and ambivalent about the technical feasibility of public involvement, its acceptability to policy makers and practitioners, and its impacts on HTA agencies' resources and procedures.
Conclusions: The study stresses the importance of conducting rigorous and compelling evaluations to inform HTA agencies' decision to adopt, or reject, public involvement practices.