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University Medical Center Groningen

Erik Buskens (MTA unit, Professor of Medical Technology Assessment

Erik Buskens
Erik Buskens

Professor of Health Technology Assessment Erik Buskens has been appointed Program Director Healthy Ageing UMCG as of September 2010. The latter among others encompasses coordination of new and cross-faculty research and education programs, development of innovative health care concepts inclusive of e-health, and evaluation thereof. He will therefore increasingly focus his research expertise in epidemiology and later on in Health Technology Assessment on topics related to Healthy Ageing. Previous fields of interest such as cerebrovascular disorders and mathematical disease modelling will be incorporated. Balancing between benefits and risks and benefits and costs remain recognised issues that should consistently be incorporated in clinical and policy decision making. Integrating all available evidence and drawing valid inference is the challenge driving his teaching and scientific ambitions.

His medical degree was obtained in Rotterdam. He subsequently worked as a military doctor and resident of internal medicine. During a period as research associate appointed at Erasmus University and Sophia Child Hospital Rotterdam training in epidemiology was completed, ultimately resulting in a PhD. Later orientation on MTA took place primarily in Utrecht, New York and Boston. As a (co-) principal investigator in national or international collaborative projects addressing quality of life, cost-effectiveness and organisation of care in diagnosis and treatment of carotid artery stenosis, abdominal aortic aneurysm and intra-cranial aneurysms several groundbreaking results were attained. Successful collaborative projects have been set up with the Universities of Reykjavik, Tromsø, Seattle, and Karolinska Institutet Stockholm, and Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston. Designs ranged from RCTs through observational studies and entire ‘in silico’ experiments. Methodological interests comprise the role of heterogeneity/frailty on cost-effectiveness and optimisation of organisation of care through simulation. Recently concluded projects address the utility and cost-effectiveness of screening for asymptomatic carotid artery stenosis and implementation and optimisation of routine ultrasound screening for congenital hip dysplasia in newborns. As of 2006, after starting at University Medical Center Groningen as professor and chair of the HTA unit, new research opportunities emerged. Modelling and evaluation of innovations was expanded to early HTA. Moreover, the focus of UMCG on Healthy Ageing and a successful collaboration with UniversityCenter for Elderly Care at Groningen lead to new clinical focus. Supervising PhD students resulted in over 10 theses and over 180 papers published in international peer-reviewed journals.

Throughout his career in research teaching epidemiology and HTA to undergraduate and postgraduate students has been a rewarding and precious experience. As both MTA and the challenge of the ongoing demographic transition remain underrepresented and underrated in biomedical curricula a clear mission remains to be accomplished.

He is the past president of the board (2005 – 2010) of the Dutch Society for Technology Assessment in Health care (NVTAG), and member of several national and international committees and bodies on HTA, and the role thereof in guidelines and policy making.As of 2009 professor Buskens was appointed member of the Advisory Board to the Minister of Health (RegieRaad).

Last modified:12 February 2015 10.45 a.m.