Guidelines for preparing assessments for the MSAC

Page last updated: 26 May 2021

The MSAC Guidelines

The MSAC Guidelines are technically-focused and have been developed to provide advice to applicants and assessment groups on the health technology assessment (HTA) methods that are used throughout the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) assessment pathway. The MSAC Guidelines may also give consumers and stakeholders an insight into the technical aspects of generating evidence for an assessment report. The MSAC Guidelines promote processes to ensure Australians have access to safe, clinically effective and cost effective medical services, health technologies and health programs. For more information on the MSAC process, please follow the link to the MSAC Process webpage.

You can download the full MSAC Guidelines and associated Templates from the Documents for Applicants and Assessment Groups webpage.

The MSAC Guidelines Summary for Stakeholders

The MSAC Guidelines Summary for Stakeholders is a succinct summary of the MSAC Guidelines and their purpose. It was created to help consumers, carers and other stakeholders understand the technical complexities of the full MSAC Guidelines and the MSAC assessment process. Additional information for stakeholders and consumers can be found on the Engaging with MSAC webpage.

You can download the MSAC Guidelines Summary for Stakeholders below.

MSAC Guidelines Summary for Stakeholders (PDF 353 KB)
MSAC Guidelines Summary for Stakeholders (Word 191 KB)

The MSAC Guidelines Review

A review of the Therapeutic Guidelines (version 2.0, March 2016) and Investigative Guidelines (version 3.0, July 2017) (the Review) was undertaken to ensure MSAC assessment processes align with best practice in Health Technology Assessment for therapeutic and investigative medical technologies and services. An external contractor, Adelaide Health Technology Assessment (AHTA), was tasked to review the Guidelines. In addition, two reference groups were established - the Guidelines Review Steering Committee, and the Technical Reference Group - to provide strategic and technical oversight, respectively.

Public and Targeted consultation took place on the Draft Guidelines throughout 2020 and early 2021. The Department appreciates the contribution of all organisations and individuals who made a submission during the consultation process. This input was taken into consideration in finalising the 2021 Guidelines.

What has changed?

The Review looked at the Therapeutic Guidelines (version 2.0, March 2016) and Investigative Guidelines (version 3.0, July 2017), and addressed technical method issues raised by MSAC and stakeholders since the last substantial revision. There is now only one set of technical guidelines – which combine Therapeutic and Investigative Guidelines.

Other changes include:

  • The structure is no longer mapped to MSAC templates – it now follows ‘Technical Guidance’ (TG) topics, that can be used like a ‘manual’ (i.e. the MSAC Guidelines do not need to be read beginning to end)
  • There are updated PICO Confirmation and Assessment Report Templates, with signposted guidance to the relevant sections of the MSAC Guidelines
  • The Assessment Framework has been improved
  • There are options to present additional relevant information such as the Inclusion of the ‘Value of Knowing’ and ‘Other Relevant Considerations’
  • The revised Guidelines provide guidance for newer technologies, including genetic testing for heritable diseases and other screening tests, incorporating information that used to be in the Clinical Utility Card (CUC) Proforma
  • There is an exemplar/facilitated approach for investigative/diagnostic genetic tests
  • ‘Key Consideration Boxes’ and more images/diagrams to better visualise concepts have been added.
Please see the Presentation Slides (PDF 2342 KB) from this webinar.

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