|HTA in Slovenia - new developments|
|Implemented in this survey?|
Slovenia is lagging behind other EU member states in developing a formal basis for HTA development. After eight years of discussions, the MoH now proposed an organisational structure, which would represent the institutionalisation of HTA in Slovenia. Two new bodies would be formed - an HTA council and an HTA network. They would have a supervisory (the council) and a technical role (the network). These two structures would form a service, which would both deliver HTA studies and carry priorities.
The first serious initiatives on institutionalising Health Technology Assessment (HTA) in Slovenia were presented during the government term 2000-2004, when it had been envisaged to place this function within the formation of an Institute for Quality in Health Care. Later, there were several more attempts, but none of them resulted in any serious outcome. In the current government term (2008-2012), the Ministry of Health (MoH) became aware of the fact that HTA was missing as an important step towards a procedure for decision making on a national level. Although its elements were introduced into everyday practice of decision making about new health care programmes and technologies already, this was insufficient. HTA was done on a voluntary basis and mostly carried out by medical specialists, who very often were incapable of carrying out a complex economic evaluation.
It took until 2010 that these ideas resulted in a proposal that envisages both the formation of a decision making body, as well as institutions and individuals practicing HTA for practical use in health care.
HTA has been present in Slovenia for more than a decade, but it was only recently that specific structures were put forward in the different decision making processes. The institutionalization of HTA should ensure the daily practice and responsiveness, and the optimal use of resources (given that in many small EU-member states it is difficult to secure expertise for a rather specific field, such as HTA).
|Degree of Innovation||traditional||innovative|
|Degree of Controversy||consensual||highly controversial|
|Structural or Systemic Impact||marginal||fundamental|
|Public Visibility||very low||very high|
The proposed solution represents a significant change in the approach, compared to how similar issues were solved in the past. The concept of combining a steering committee and a network of interested parties is a relative novelty. In the past the Government would resort to the establishment of agencies instead. While this is neither feasible nor desireable in the present economic situation, it remains to be seen if the proposed solution will be sustainable in the long run.
|Implemented in this survey?|
Taking into account the relationships between the key stakeholders the setting of HTA is a compromise. Even though HTA in many aspects has a public health function, such a new role for the National Institute of Public Health (NIPH) has often been contested. There are three aspects of HTA policies in Slovenia that will have to be respected:
1. HTA serves as a broader concept for other similar assessments, but offers a certain market opportunity given that there can (will?) be several providers of these assessments. There are several providers of HTA who actually prepare assessments based on those being commissioned by different bodies. They include the Institute of Economic Research in Health Care, the Faculty of Economics in Ljubljana, the Institute for Economic Research in Ljubljana, and the Faculty of Pharmacy.
2. HTA serves as an evaluation mechanism, which is defined as an interface between the providers of technologies and policy-makers, and in principle it is performed as scrutinising reports prepared under the previous point.
3. HTA serves as a network with transparent and open mechanisms of co-ordination across a larger number of interested partners.
|Institute of Public Health||very supportive||strongly opposed|
|Pharmaceutical industry||very supportive||strongly opposed|
|Health Insurance Institute||very supportive||strongly opposed|
|Faculty of Pharmacy||very supportive||strongly opposed|
The legal background for the proposed solution will be based on statutes and regulations adopted by the Minister and later adopted by the Health Council, which is his main advisory body.
A new level of concensus was reached, which is that an HTA Steering Committee and a Network would be formed. These would ensure the carrying out of the necessary steps of the HTA process and the representation of all interested partners. These two aspects ensured the consent from those who earlier opposed the intermediate proposed solution, especially with respect to defining the NIPH as the location for all national key HTA activities.
|Institute of Public Health||very strong||none|
|Pharmaceutical industry||very strong||none|
|Health Insurance Institute||very strong||none|
|Faculty of Pharmacy||very strong||none|
The committee or HTA Council will have members from all key institutions related to the HTA process as assessed by the MoH, including representatives of the MoH, the Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia (HIIS), the two clinical centres in Ljubljana and Maribor, the National Institute of Public Health (NIPH), the Medical Chamber, the Nursing Chamber and the Chamber of Pharmacy. The network shall include all those institutions interested in contributing to the HTA issues, being either at the level of interested parties or providing any part of the assessment. In that sense the network will include the representatives of the HIIS, NIPH, Faculty of Pharmacy, other institutes dealing with HTA (see below) and representatives of the industry.
The policy should be decided upon in the near future, meaning in the next 1-3 months, depending on the level of agreement between the MoH and the interested parties. This area will certainly remain a focus of attention in these reports and will be treated with a lot of interest. The exact description of the processes will be possible once the final versions of the respective regulations are adopted and then implemented. This process will be monitored and reported on.
|Quality of Health Care Services||marginal||fundamental|
|Level of Equity||system less equitable||system more equitable|
|Cost Efficiency||very low||very high|
It is expected that this mechanism will be an important step in improving the process and the mechanisms of HTA evaluation, and that it will serve as the base for informed health policy decision-making in Slovenia.
1. Draft regulations for the formation of the HTA Steering Committee and the HTA Network, prepared by the MoH of Slovenia - materials for discussion with the Health Council (in Slovene)
|HTA in Slovenia - new developments|
Process Stages: Evaluation, Policy Paper, Pilot