The Institute was established in 1997 (originally known as the Decision Analysis and Technology Assessment (DATA) Group), in order to support economically-based assessment of medical technologies, and outcomes research in general. The Institute provides the infrastructure and expertise to evaluate diagnostic and therapeutic medical technologies at all stages of development, and thereby to promote optimal use of increasingly limited health care resources.  Its primary activities are the development and application of rigorous scientific methodologies including clinical epidemiology, cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis, health state preference and health-related quality of life methodology, decision analysis, economics, and risk analysis.

The ITA includes individuals with training and expertise in the core disciplines of biostatistics, epidemiology, economics, decision science, health-related quality of life measurement, outcomes analysis, and health care policy.  A unique focus of the ITA is on the evaluation of technologies during the early stages of development, from discovery to preliminary clinical testing, when extensive data regarding clinical effectiveness may not yet be available.  In these instances, computer models are utilized in order to simulate expected outcomes, and thereby predict costs, effectiveness, and overall impact on the healthcare system.  However, the ITA also evaluates programs as they move into clinical practice, building and utilizing robust condition-specific patient databases that facilitate comprehensive analysis of clinical effectiveness.