Assessing examination and treatment methods

The Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) assesses new methods as well as methods already covered by statutory health insurance for diagnostic and therapeutic benefit, medical necessity, and cost-effectiveness. The procedure for this examination is found in the G-BA rules of procedure.

The first step in the evaluation of a method is to specify the concrete question to be answered. This defines which group of people is to be treated with which medical method, and what parameters can be used to assess the success of the treatment. The subcommittee then conducts extensive independent research on the generally recognized state of the medical art. For example, this can include clinical studies, evidence-based guidelines, systematic reviews, and expert opinions ordered by the G-BA as needed. The G-BA also evaluates statements made during the hearing procedure.

To ensure the legal certainty of decisions taken by the G-BA, the quality of research must meet the highest standards. Three aspects are pivotal:

  1. The selection of studies relevant to the question to be answered
  2. The evaluation of the studies with respect to their plausibility and the relevance of their results
  3. The application of the study results to the question to be answered

The complexity of the assessment procedure necessitates accuracy and time. With some procedures, many different indications must be examined. In some cases, several thousand sources must be researched, reviewed, and assessed.

Criteria for evidence-based medicine as the basis for the assessment procedure