What is your day-to-day work like? How do you help improve or save people's lives through your work? I am in charge of a home dialysis program in Helsinki. In my department, we take care of the education and training of patients to prepare them for therapy. In Finland, we have been active in this field from the early 80s. There are about 500 dialysis patients in our hospital district, 35% of whom are treated at home. We believe that home therapy...

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What is your day-to-day work like? How do you help improve or save people's lives through your work? My work is divided into four main parts: firstly, research (both clinical and applied) to document the effectiveness of medical technologies and identify how we can improve the outcomes for different groups of patients through certain devices. Secondly, I have direct consultations with patients through my work at the clinic. At the Centre we run one of the biggest Auditory Implant programs in the world having the largest globally group of patients under our care. I take on some of the most difficult cases and I aim to improve fitting of auditory implants on patients in order to achieve the best outcomes for them. Thirdly, education: I teach clinical engineering and hearing science at the university. Finally, naturally, my work also entails a lot of paperwork. What do you think are the top three challenges facing the healthcare system and your profession in particular? I think that the following three challenges are equally important to the healthcare system and to my profession: costs, lack of awareness and lack of education. The cost of new technologies is a constant struggle to the system. This is true for the different groups of patients, including completely and partially deaf people as well. Over 360 million people suffer from hearing disabilities worldwide, many of whom are from low income countries. They often do not get to benefit from the latest technologies. There is also a lack of awareness about new technologies among different healthcare professionals. We will need to equip more specialties with the knowledge about these technologies and spread this knowledge further in other clinical jobs. The technologies we have are powerful, but they are also complex. We will need to educate healthcare professionals on...
What is your day-to-day work like? How do you help improve or save people's lives through your work? I am in charge of a home dialysis program in Helsinki. In my department, we take care of the education and training of patients to prepare them for therapy. In Finland, we have been active in this field from the early 80s. There are about 500 dialysis patients in our hospital district, 35% of whom are treated at home. We believe that home therapy is best for the patients. It does not only provide the best quality of life and outcomes, but it also allows for the treatment to be more personalised. It is in fact a win-win-win: for patients to be able to recover at home and get the best treatment, for healthcare professionals to be able to deliver the best care with limited staff and for society in terms of costs to the economy and healthcare. From early on, patients are able to choose the treatment best suited to them, thanks to the information available to them. It is important to not only provide this information to the patients, but also to their family. What do you think are the top three challenges facing the healthcare system and your profession in particular? One of the biggest challenges is the ageing population and the growing number of patients with end-stage renal failure. In the meantime, resources such as money or healthcare staff are lacking in order to balance the demands on the system. Finally, we should be up to date about technological and medical developments in our respective fields. The world is changing and we need to be able to adapt to these changes and understand the new demands. What role do you see for medical technologies to address these challenges?...
“All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.”— Sophocles, Antigone Just two decades ago, in the late ‘90s, the Institute of Medicine presented shocking statistics, comparing the death occurring from medical errors to the equivalent of a jumbo jet crashing every day. As a result, patient safety came into sharper focus and was recognised as a global challenge that requires skills and knowledge in many areas, including human factors. In Europe, the statistics are similarly worrying and fuelled by cases where surgeons implant wrong organs into the patient, or even worse – bring the wrong patient into surgery. Recognizing the significant risk to surgical patients, the topic has received attention from international organizations, such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), which published guidelines to improve patient safety in the operating theatre. A 19-item checklist was designed with the goal of reducing the rate of major surgical complications during three time-critical checkpoints: sign-in, timeout, and sign-out. Briefings carried out by operating theatre teams provide an opportunity to identify and resolve issues before a case starts. Debriefings at the end of the theatre list support reflective learning on what went well and what could be done better tomorrow. The checklist also helps to improve the reliability of essential surgical processes by prompting the surgical team to anticipate and prepare for potential problems. It forces a brief period of reflection (the ‘time out’) in which the theatre team works through a series of questions aimed at highlighting potential problems. Indeed, the checklist has contributed to the overall reduction of mortality in surgery and enhanced communication among theatre staff. From the medical device standpoint, its implementation is critical as it allows demonstrating potentially avoidable adverse events when...
1. What is your day-to-day work like? How do you help improve or save people's lives through your work? I’m an orthopaedic surgeon working at Reinier de Graaf hospital in Delft; I’ve been working here since 2005. A large teaching hospital, I specialise in hip surgery, hip arthroplasty and hip revision. I also work in traumatology. I perform around 300 hip replacements a year. The majority of my patients are elderly although I still perform surgeries on the relatively young, patients who suffer from severe arthritis at a young or have congenital deformities in the hip. My job is very rewarding. Patients come in to the hospital with significant hip pain and have a limited range of motion or sometimes are even completely immobile. Hip replacement surgery transforms their health and quality-of-life and to see this transformation is really satisfying. 2. What do you think are the key challenges facing the healthcare system and your profession in particular? For healthcare, it’s without doubt the growing healthcare costs. Fortunately in the Netherlands, we somehow have been able to reduce costs and the healthcare budget has more or less stabilised, bucking the trend compared to other EU Member States. Tremendous efforts and cost-cutting measures have been put in place in order to reduce the budget; however, such cost reduction has made it difficult to innovate and bring new techniques to improve patient treatment, care and outcomes. As an orthopaedic surgeon, one of the major challenges is to enhance our patient focus and improve healthcare to be more patient-centred in its approach. We’ve come a long way but there’s still a lot to do. More connectedness in healthcare such as high-quality apps are a great way of being more patient-focused but we can improve further. As an orthopaedic surgeon, one of the major...
The second European Medtech Week from 13-17 June was a platform actively leveraged by all stakeholders to discuss the potential of MedTech. Over 100 events took place in 18 European countries as part of MedTech Week, with the medtech industry and our various partners discussing topics that were high on their national agendas. National medtech associations and individual companies demonstrated how medical technologies save and transform peoples’ lives. It was great to see healthcare professionals and patients from very different backgrounds and regions across Europe sharing their first-hand, insightful experiences, as well as their views on what needs to change in order to improve their daily lives. One of the topics that was discussed in a number of countries was the role and potential of eHealth. This is a subject very close to my heart because I believe it will be a key enabler for moving healthcare in the right direction. Based on the feedback from a range of events across Europe, we can see there seems to be strong agreement amongst all stakeholders that three important issues need to be addressed in order to use the full potential of eHealth: - We need a safe regulatory environment for e-products and services - We need to adapt funding schemes appropriately to allow access to e-products and e-services - We must move forward in terms of interoperability of products, services and systems Clear and timely action on these areas would allow eHealth to facilitate solutions to a range of healthcare challenges: using big data, embracing health apps, and deploying remote solutions in the most efficient way for the benefit of patients and doctors. I believe this year’s European Medtech Week showed that our industry has grown up and is now a reliable and relevant partner seeking to be a responsible participant...
Question: As an active leader in the heart failure conversation and the instigator of the Heart Failure Aware campaign, could you tell us more on what it’s trying to achieve, target, why is it important, and how you could see it rolled out across Europe? Currently we are facing a number of large unmet challenges in heart failure across Europe. There is no parity in access to care, variations exist across Europe; I say this because we know what we should be doing, but we’re not doing it. 15 million people in Europe have heart failure; it’s a tsunami that will hit the shores of Europe’s health systems, it’s not on the agenda – politically, economically or even amongst the public. It is a poor relation in comparison to other conditions. One of the challenges we face includes a lack of access to innovation across all therapeutic areas in heart failure. Patients when diagnosed aren't generally aware of the therapy options and pathways. Heart failure patients don't know until they have been managing their condition for a long time, of the treatment options potentially available to them such as cardiac devices. Awareness of medtech products and therapies is very low in the heart failure patient community, and it’s even worse around the innovations. The reason I founded the Pumping Marvellous Foundation was because patients and their families were under-served and were in need of knowledge, information and techniques to manage their heart failure – and an essential element to this is knowing what is available, our patient community call this ‘hope’. We developed a heart failure community platform on Facebook because it was free and social media plays a big part in people's lives. Recent studies have suggested, that our assumptions around older persons use of social media is wrong,...