A qualitative study of the relationship between the Scottish medicines consortium and their clinical experts

Rosemary Newham, Emma Dunlop Corcoran, James W. Dear, Sharon Hems, Stuart McTaggart, Marion Bennie

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Internationally, health technology assessments (HTAs) are ubiquitous drivers to health policy. Within Scotland, the Scottish Medicines Consortium undertakes the medicine review process. Input from clinical experts, involved in frontline care, is an integral component of the assessment process. This paper explores the relationship between the clinical experts and the HTA agency within Scotland to better understand what motivates expert clinicians to devote their time to the medicine review process with no remuneration. Twenty-seven clinical experts from 16 different clinical specialties took part in one-to-one interviews at their place of work between October 2011 and March 2012. Data analysis was inductive and comprised the organization of data into a framework and a subsequent thematic analysis. Three distinct themes were identified: (1) recruitment, which identified two types of explanations for the experts' appointment: external justification (nominated by another) and internal justification (being recognized as an expert); (2) flexibility of the procedures, with experts able to determine their own response style and negotiate timelines; (3) health care systems, demonstrating that their affiliation to the health system underpinned the relationship and their motivation to be clinical experts. The findings of this study provide insight into the elements important to clinicians who voluntarily contribute to HTA processes. Examination of these elements in the context of the organizational citizenship behavior literature provides a foundation on which to improve understanding of this relationship and sustain and improve clinical expert participation in an increasingly intensified clinical environment and within cash-limited HTA systems.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
Early online date23 Mar 2015
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Mar 2015


  • organizational citizenship behaviors
  • qualitative research
  • clinical engagement
  • health technology assessment

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