Skip to Main Content
Technology assessment (TA) is a relatively new concept with a heterogeneous "community" of practitioners and advocates. Consequently, there is much confusion about the new analytic strategy. Many people, for example, confuse TA with other technology studies such as engineering feasibility, market research, clinical trials, cost-benefit, environmental impact, technology forecasting, or technology transfer. This article-which draws most of its examples from the field of health-attempts to allay the confusion by showing how TA differs significantly from other technology studies and by articulating both the opportunities and obstacles involved in conducting comprehensive assessments. Using a question and answer format, the paper focuses on six facets of TA: 1) What is technology assessment? 2) Why is technology assessment needed? 3) How do comprehensive TA's differ from other technology studies? 4) What are the differences among evolving TA prototypes? 5) What comprehensive TA's have been done in health/medicine? 6) What are the limitations of the state of the art of TA?