Responsibilities and objectives of IQWiG

Medicine put to the test

The independent Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (Institut für Qualität und Wirtschaftlichkeit im Gesundheitswesen, IQWiG) examines the benefits and harms of medical interventions for patients. We provide information about the advantages and disadvantages of examination and treatment methods in the form of scientific reports and easily understandable health information.

Quality and efficiency are two deciding factors for a good and effective health care system. To achieve this aim, it is important to examine objectively the advantages and disadvantages of medical interventions for patients.

Since 2004 this has been the responsibility of the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG for short). The Institute produces independent, evidence-based reports, e.g. on:

  • drugs
  • non-drug interventions (e.g. surgical procedures)
  • diagnostic tests and screening tests
  • clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) and disease management programmes (DMPs)

In addition, IQWiG provides easily understandable health information for the general public.

How does IQWiG produce its reports?

One of IQWiG's responsibilities is the statutory commission to assess the advantages and disadvantages of medical procedures, for example, to compare different drugs or surgical procedures with each other. For this purpose, the Institute's scientific staff conduct a systematic search of the international scientific literature for studies in which the comparisons in question are described. The researchers use the methods of evidence-based medicine for selecting and assessing the studies. Using this international standard method, it is possible to estimate how reliable the available knowledge actually is.

It is important to note that IQWiG does not conduct its own clinical studies with patients. Instead, from the available pool of studies the Institute systematically searches for those studies which provide sufficiently reliable results. IQWiG then produces a synthesized report from these results.

IQWiG publishes all results on its website, addressing experts and stakeholders in health care, as well as the general public directly. By making knowledge available the Institute aims to enable everyone involved in health care to make informed decisions.