Health technologies

Health technologies range from single-use devices to the most advanced medical equipment, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners. Technology is used in all types of health facilities, plays a major role in contemporary health care systems and contributes directly to the quality of patient care. It needs to be complemented, however, by good staff training and effective organization of health services where application/use is sought.

Decisions on selecting medical equipment for a health care facility must be supported by evidence and based on clinical needs, financial resources and the local capacity for effective use. Health technology assessment should be used to support more informed decision-making and contribute to the development of national health care services.

An efficient health technology management programme is needed to keep equipment in good working order with maximum effectiveness in terms of clinical use and running costs. The availability and sophistication of such programmes varies widely in the WHO European Region: some eastern countries lack such programmes, while some advanced hospitals in western Europe have fully automated systems in place.