Horizon Scanning

ECRI’s Horizon Scanning services have been keeping up with new and emerging technologies, procedures, treatment models, and care delivery to help define the future of healthcare

Keeping up with new and emerging technologies, procedures, treatment models, and care delivery is a continuous challenge. To ensure patient safety and the delivery of cost-effective care, leaders and clinicians must stay informed of the latest advancements to ensure effective investments.

For more than 30 years, ECRI’s Horizon Scanning services has helped define the future of healthcare. Horizon Scanning is a systematic process that serves as an “early warning system” to inform decision makers about possible future opportunities and threats. It identifies technologies, innovations, and trends with potential to cause future disruptions, both positive and negative.

ECRI’s Horizon Scanning is performed by clinical and scientific experts with broad expertise, and our experience has led to groundbreaking work with the federal government’s healthcare horizon scanning efforts.

PCORI Health Care Horizon Scanning System

Under contract to the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), ECRI developed and implemented the PCORI Health Care Horizon Scanning System (HCHSS), which identifies and monitors topics likely to be available for clinical use within three years. We continue to monitor topics for up to one year after initial clinical availability. The PCORI HCHSS began operating in December 2018. Since then, review of more than 2300 leads has led to identification of about 260 interventions and 50 trends with potential to cause significant disruption in healthcare.

Get Involved

Every few weeks, ECRI issues brief reports about new treatments that have the potential to change healthcare. We are looking for physicians, nurses, patients, and caregivers to read these reports and comment on how they might disrupt health care.

If you have knowledge of or experience with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, mental and behavioral health conditions, and rare diseases, including genetic and pediatric illnesses, we encourage you to contact us to get involved.

PCORI Horizon Scanning Resources

Horizon Scan of Genetic and Cellular Therapies for BCBS Massachusetts

From 2018 to 2019, ECRI developed and operated a horizon scanning system to capture gene and cell-based therapies likely to become clinically available within the next three years. Over the course of the project, we identified and reported on over 115 therapies.

AHRQ Healthcare Horizon Scanning System

From 2010 to 2015, ECRI created and operated the first, large-scale U.S. healthcare horizon scanning system intended to inform comparative-effectiveness research investments made through AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program. The system had the following goals:

  • Create and use transparent and clearly defined processes to identify and monitor novel interventions or new uses of existing interventions that might address an unmet need
  • Develop and implement a transparent and defined framework for identifying which interventions could have the greatest potential impact on clinical care, the health care system, patient outcomes, and costs
  • Evaluate components of existing horizon scanning systems and their respective protocols to identify best practices and effective methods of horizon scanning

Over the term of the project, ECRI identified and monitored more than 2500 interventions, produced 20 status reports, and 10 semi-annual High Impact Reports detailing interventions likely have highest impact.

Forecasting High Impact Medical Technologies for Medicare Coverage and Analysis Group

From 2008 to 2011, ECRI provided semi-annual reports to CMS’s Coverage and Analysis Group that identified and predicted up-and-coming medical technologies that will likely affect Medicare populations within the next 12 to 24 months.

Interested in learning more?
Contact us at 610.825.6000, ext. 5891 or e-mail clientservices@ecri.org.