The main task
The main task of NIHO is to bring scientific approach and transparency to the process of reimbursement of health technologies in Slovakia. NIHO assesses technologies whose marketing authorization holders apply for reimbursement. For this purpose, NIHO studies large amounts of available information on given technology and processes it into an understandable form for decision-makers and health authorities. NIHOis an advisory body of the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic and its appraisal committees responsible for advising reimbursement decision. NIHO calculates the maximum price for which the Slovak Republic is able to pay reimburse the given technology as the cost-effectiveness threshold in Slovakia is set in law. NIHO does not issue decisions, this competence remains in the hands of the Ministry of Health.
Another task of NIHO is to answer various questions in the field of health care and thus contribute to a better application of the most up-to-date knowledge. Examples of topics we have worked on include: how to set up a sustainable system of exceptional reimbursement of medicines; what is the availability of the most beneficial oncology medicines in Slovakia; how to set up a system of reimbursement groups; how to optimize medicine legislation or a number of issues resulting from non-standard situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The training of experts in the use of evidence-based medicine is another important mission of NIHO.
Cooperation with foreign countries
Many questions of the health sector have already been answered and many technologies have been assessed by other HTA institutions. Cooperation in this context means that it is possible to use the assessment from abroad and adapt it to the Slovak context. Similarly, assessments made by NIHO can be used abroad at any time. This is the main reason why we write executive summaries of our assessments in the English language. At the same time, it is possible to work on certain assessments in direct cooperation with foreign HTA institutions and divide individual parts of the work among ourselves. On the basis of the recent Regulation (EU) 2021/2282 of the European Parliament and Council of 15 December 2021 on health technology assessment and amending Directive 2011/24/EU, cooperation on clinical aspects of HTA will be gradually unified at the European level as of 2025 and NIHO is taking an active part in it.