The CNEH was set up in 1974 to give technical advice to the authorities responsible for national health policy in France. Since 1982 the CNEH has carried out several technology assessments to help political decision-makers by reducing uncertainty and providing fuller information. The studies made included ones on magnetic resonance imaging machines, lasers for surgical use, digitalised angiography and automatic multi-parameter biomedical analysers. It was learned from these studies that though the decision-maker has a role to play in the choice of subject for study, the assessing organisation is more often the proposer. The results also showed that a degree of uncertainty will always persist regarding the advantages of a technique or piece of equipment, and therefore decision-makers must accept a level of arbitrariness in their choice. © 1988.
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