POP db, the EUnetHTA Planned and Ongoing Projects database - development and functionalities.
Background: The EUnetHTA Planned and ongoing Projects (POP) database was developed to facilitate the exchange of information on (planned and ongoing) HTA projects before publication and the identification of potential collaboration. A first pilot period (using a spreadsheet stored on a shared online folder) allowed to set up the database characteristics (fields, MeSH indexation), the workflow (provision of information by a contact person at each participating agency) and the monitoring procedure (quality check and quarterly reminders).
Objectives: To present the development of the online POP database as part of the EUnetHTA Information Management System, and results after one year of activity.
Methods: Specifications and functionalities for the online database were identified based on the experience gained by the team during the 18 months’ pilot, and by surveying information providers. The database was developed using JAVA, prioritisation resulted in a two step approach.
Results: A first release of the online POP database was delivered in September 2011. Contact persons at agencies may create and edit (update, unpublish) descriptions of their agency’s projects. Users of the POP may identify interesting projects in various ways (search, browse, automatic list of potential collaborations based on MeSH indexation). Access to the database makes use of the EUnetHTA ID, a single login for all EUnetHTA tools.
Discussion: POP database helped to start collaborations between agencies at an early stage or actual cooperation/joint assessments took place. Current online version, and planned ameliorations like automatic email notification (POP db release 2, 2012) will further facilitate the early identification of potential collaboration. Impact of the POP db on collaboration will then need a regular monitoring.
Implications for health system: To reduce duplication of HTA- work and therefore increase efficiency will have impact on standardisation of methodology, increased output of bi-lingual assessments and eventually on an increase of HTA-productivity.