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Objectives: The aim of this study was to establish a national Early Awareness and Alert (EAA) system for the identification and assessment of new and emerging health technologies in Italy. Methods: In 2008, Agenas, a public body supporting Regions and the Ministry of Health (MoH) in health services research, started a project named COTE (Observatory of New and Emerging Health Technologies) with the ultimate aim of implementing a national EAA system. The COTE project involved all stakeholders (MoH, Regions, Industry, Universities, technical government bodies, and Scientific Societies), in defining the key characteristics and methods of the EAA system. Agreement with stakeholders was reached using three separate workshops. Results: During the workshops, participants shared and agreed methods for identification of new and emerging health technologies, prioritization, and assessment. The structure of the Horizon Scanning (HS) reports was discussed and defined. The main channels for dissemination of outputs were identified as the EuroScan database, and the stakeholders- Web portals. During the final workshop, Agenas presented the first three HS reports produced at national level and proposed the establishment of a permanent national EAA system. Conclusions: The COTE Project created the basis for a permanent national EAA system in Italy. An infrastructure to enable the stakeholders network to grow was created, methods to submit new and emerging health technologies for possible evaluation were established, methods for assessment of the technologies selected were defined, and the stakeholders involvement was delineated (in the identification, assessment, and dissemination stages). © Copyright 2012 Cambridge University Press.

Original publication




Journal article


International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care

Publication Date





321 - 326