ThemenCheck reports are based on suggestions submitted on the website “ThemenCheck Medizin” (Topic check medicine) by statutory health insurance members and other interested people. The legislator has initiated this tool to provide a possibility for people to get involved in the promotion of evidence-based medicine.
These reports always assess benefit and harm of a medical procedure. In line with international HTA standards and depending on the topic, the ThemenCheck reports can also additionally investigate its economic, ethical, legal, social and organizational aspects regarding patient care. §139b (5) SGB V is the legal basis of the report production.
IQWiG forwards the ThemenCheck reports to institutions in Germany, which, for example, decide on the services and structure of the healthcare system. In this way the results of ThemenCheck reports are supposed to have a direct impact on the health care of patients in the German healthcare system, for example, in treatment decisions made in conversations between doctors and patients or in system decisions made by the self-government of the healthcare system or by policy makers.
Since 2016, members of the general public have been able to suggest topics for ThemenCheck reports. Since then, up to 5 ThemenCheck reports with answers to scientific questions have been published per year.
Each ThemenCheck report covers 2 parts: a report prepared by external experts according to IQWiG’s General Methods, as well as a publisher’s comment by IQWiG classifying the results. In addition, an easily understandable version is published, “ThemenCheck compact”.
Preparation of ThemenCheck reports (simplified description):
Each year, the Institute, together with patient representatives, members of the public, and the extended Advisory Board, selects up to five topics from proposals (by members of the public) that are particularly important for patient care in Germany. ThemenCheck reports on these topics are then prepared.
ThemenCheck report protocol:
According to IQWiG’s methods, the methodological approach for the work on the topic selected is specified by external experts in a report protocol and tested for conformity by IQWiG.
Preliminary ThemenCheck report:
The external experts prepare a preliminary ThemenCheck report. This also covers a conclusion and a generally understandable summary. After a conformity check and acceptance of the preliminary ThemenCheck report by IQWiG, a written commenting procedure is conducted. An evaluation of the comments and, if necessary, changes to the report following the comments are made by the external experts.
Publisher’s comment by IQWiG:
IQWiG classifies the results of the external experts’ work in a publisher’s comment.
The report of the external experts is published as a ThemenCheck report together with a publisher’s comment by IQWiG.
Together with the ThemenCheck report, “ThemenCheck compact” is published, which contains a short and easily understandable answer to the question submitted by the member of public.
As stipulated by legislation, the results of the HTA reports are also published on IQWiG’s health information website.