About CTAF

Expanding CTAF's Scope

The California Technology Assessment Forum is a nationally-recognized community forum dedicated to objectivity and transparency regarding the safety and effectiveness of medical technologies, treatments and models of care.  

Responding to changes in the health care environment, CTAF recently became part of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) and broadened its scope to include cost-effectiveness analyses and a greater emphasis on working with stakeholders to put evidence into action.   CTAF  directly engages clinicians, patients, and payers during public meetings to discuss implications of the evidence for clinical decision-making and coverage policies.  Application of evidence takes shape through new medical policies, benefit designs, and patient and clinician tools to impact clinical care and patient outcomes.

CTAF’s long and proud heritage can be traced back to the 1950’s when Blue Shield of California formed a medical policy committee (MPC) in conjunction with the California Medical Association.  By the 1970’s, the MPC was dedicated to ensuring the safety and effectiveness of new technologies, and was structured as an "open forum" soliciting input from a variety of perspectives.  For nearly a decade, until 2013, CTAF was managed and supported by the Blue Shield of California Foundation.  The hallmarks of rigor and transparency that form its legacy continue to guide CTAF today.  CTAF’s simple and elegant mission "to identify medical technologies, treatments and models of care that improve health" has withstood the test of time, guiding CTAF through the many challenges presented by health care delivery and positioning CTAF as an important public benefit for the state of California and its residents. 

How has the process changed?

In the new format, CTAF tackles a single topic at each meeting in order to allow greater depth of discussion and examination of both clinical and economic data.  Meetings are also longer than in the past to include greater opportunity for input from stakeholders and a formal “roundtable” dialogue between the CTAF panel and a group of insurers, clinical experts, and patient representatives.  

What is the new methodology?

CTAF continues to produce high-quality, rigorous evidence reviews and votes on the strength of evidence, but has shifted away from voting on the 5 evidence criteria that it has used before.  Instead, CTAF now votes on broader judgments of the comparative effectiveness and comparative value of different care options.  

Are the meetings still open to the public?

Yes, meetings are open to the public.  In addition, draft assessments are posted for comment before the meetings to allow another avenue for public input. 

Can I still access the previous HTAs and criteria on ctaf.org?

Yes, we encourage you to continue to access previous HTAs at www.ctaf.org.  This work is part of our legacy and continues to provide important contributions to the science of health care. 

CTAF Mission

The California Technology Assessment Forum (CTAF) – a core program of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review - develops rigorous evidence reports and provides a public venue in which the evidence on the effectiveness and value of health care services can be discussed with the input of all stakeholders.  CTAF seeks to help patients, clinicians, insurers, and policymakers interpret and use evidence to improve the quality and value of healthcare.

CTAF Vision

Through its work, CTAF aims to help create a future in which collaborative efforts to move evidence into action provide the foundation for a more effective, efficient, and just health care system.

CTAF's Guiding Principles

  • Objective
  • Transparent
  • Evidence-based
  • Committed to physician and public involvement
  • Credible
  • Patient-centered

What the Forum Is

A community forum dedicated to

  • Objectivity and transparency regarding medical technologies, treatments and models of care
  • Dialog and decisions regarding the safety and effectiveness of new and emerging technologies, treatments and models of care

What the Forum Is Not

  • A revenue-generating organization
  • A consultant organization
  • An endorser of specific technologies
  • An advocacy organization
  • An organization that determines health plan benefit coverage