Dr Slaveyko Djambazov and Dr George Slavchev on the importance of data, science and expertise for the common good
The current events proved beyond any doubt that quality, efficient and modern healthcare is crucial for the proper functioning not only of countries, but of the whole world. This is only possible when experienced professionals are consulted at each step of the process: from identifying medicine and equipment manufacturers and suppliers to finding the proper funding while unfailingly applying reliable data and scientific approach.
Health Technology Assessment Ltd. (HTA) is such a company. A Bulgarian enterprise, it was founded five years ago by Dr Slaveyko Djambazov. A professional with more than 20-year track record in healthcare industry management, he has international experience in health policy advisory, management of hospital networks, health insurance, pharmaceutical manufacturing, strategic planning and marketing. Dr Djambazov's scientific achievements include a PhD in Health Technology Assessment, an MBA from the American University in Bulgaria, masters in Medicine and Public Health, executive education at Harvard Business School. He has published 70 scientific and 100 hot-topic articles, has delivered more than 500 lectures as an industry speaker, teaches HTA and has co-authored 7 books. Dr Djambazov consults in the field of health technology assessment, real-world data, patient-reported outcomes measurement and value measurement for healthcare. Since 2017, he is actively involved in development of the healthcare in several African and Asian countries. Dr Djambazov is the managing director of HTA Ltd.
His partner at HTA, Dr George Slavchev, is the company's scientific director. Besides a PhD in Infectious Microbiology, he holds a bachelor degree in Biotechnology and masters in Molecular Biology. Dr. Slavchev worked at the Institute of Microbiology of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, where he obtained a degree as chief professor, and specializes in Health Technology Assessment and Modeling. He is the author and co-author of over 30 scientific publications and 3 books, and is actively involved in the preparation of local HTA guidelines and quality of life studies. His everyday job is to translate the medical science and evidence into practical advice and recommendations.
What is HTA?
Dr Djambazov: HTA is an independent organization committed to improving healthcare by providing evidence-based analyses to decision-makers. These can be regulators, payers, governments, investment funds, scientific societies, hospitals, even single patients. To achieve this and stay ahead in its field, HTA partners with multinational pharmaceutical and medical devices manufacturers, investment funds, NGOs, and several governments. These collaborative efforts help HTA in shaping healthcare policy and decision-making, and empowering both business and NGOs. Our team includes specialists with extensive expertise in crucial fields such as health policy advisory, health economics, clinical data, real world data and evidence, modeling, budget impact analysis, risk-sharing agreements, value measurement for healthcare, and health technology assessment. We believe in long-lasting, sustainable partnerships and constantly enrich the scope of our value-added services to support our clients' growth and competitiveness. Since its foundation, HTA has experienced rising demand for its core expertise. That is why we adjusted our services and capacity to an international level, increasingly dealing with assessment of large international healthcare and pharmaceutical investments.
Dr George Slavchev
How does HTA work?
Dr Slavchev: HTA brings deep, functional academic expertise, and delivers on time and within budget. This is crucial for helping clients meet their goals quickly and efficiently. For example, we are able to evaluate the impact of a screening program for diseases such as Hepatitis C, flu and data about COVID-19 incidence, the cost and the time of the expected result. Big data is crucial for modern medicine. That is why HTA is actively involved in design and analysis of real-world data projects in the fields of oncology, cardiovascular and hematologic diseases, and others, including atrial fibrillation. HTA obtains and manages data from international and local clinical practice. Our team then studies and implements it in the preparation of local HTA guidelines and quality of life studies.
I will give you an example: HTA has analyzed data from clinical trials and real clinical practice following the journey of patients with non-small cell lung cancer. This analysis evaluates the patient's real-life benefits vs. clinical trials benefits. This allowed us to determine the overall cost of treatment in order to assess the real budget impact. Consequently, our work helped decision-makers to choose the most cost-effective solution and recommendations.
HTA invests heavily in expertise and science. Why are these so important?
Dr Slavchev: Scientific methods allow us to contribute to providing access to better healthcare at lower cost at a hospital and national level.
Recently, HTA has widened its interest to topics of growing importance like allocation of scarce resources, releasing the economic and political pressure, and guiding spending towards efficiency. We, at HTA, see reallocation of resources – the freeing of resources and accordingly the reinvestment from low to high value care, as the utmost necessity for sustainable healthcare system within budget. We apply value-based healthcare (VBHC) via time-driven activity-based costing (TDABC) methodology. TDABC aims to define an accurate measure of labour productivity in primary care and to identify its determinants, including workforce skill mix, technology, and patient characteristics. This comprehensive concept helps us to build an appropriate care to achieve patients' personal goals (personal value) and the best possible outcomes with available resources (technical value). HTA uses multimethod approach, spanning qualitative and quantitative research methods to focus on fixing the current gaps by delivering evidence-based recommendations for improving performance and the factors determining labour productivity.
How do you achieve that?
Dr Slavchev: Implementation requires heavy trainings – from concept to practical workshop. HTA participates, but also leads trainings for healthcare organizations, private and government institutions in fields such as health technology assessment, epidemiology and biostatistics, value measurement for healthcare.
For the last 5 years HTA has authored more than 100,000 pages of scientific work and over 60 scientific papers. We have also published five books: Clinical Research, Evaluation of Medicinal Therapies, HTA. Good Practices, HTA Guidelines for Bulgaria and Practical Epidemiology.
Sofia, 109 Bulgaria Blvd
Vertigo Business Tower, floor 14