Every family has a cancer story. If you have not had direct personal experience of cancer, the chances are that you know a loved one, a friend or a colleague who has. More than three million people in Europe are diagnosed with cancer every year, and 1.7 million cancer deaths are recorded annually. The death and illness caused by cancer exacts a heavy toll on individuals, communities and the economy. Finding smart ways to improve outcomes for all...

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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,...
Access to healthcare is a basic human right and one of the fundamental principles of European health systems. Treatment should be timely and accessible to every patient who needs it, not only to those who can pay for it. Regrettably, this is not a reality for all. Patient access is a key priority for the European Patients’ Forum (EPF), and one of our strategic goals for 2014 - 2020. In our vision, health systems should enable equitable access to sustainable and high-quality healthcare for all patients. A Definition of Access from the Patients’ Perspective Access is on everyone’s lips in Brussels. We believe it is time to agree on a comprehensive definition of access, taking into account the patient’s experience. Thanks to the input of its members and its Access Working Group, EPF has recently published a paper outlining its vision of access: A definition from the patient’s perspective. Because, at the end of the day, it is the patients who will bear the cost of health inequalities and face barriers to access. The definition we propose relies on 5 A’s: - Availability – healthcare should be available to all patients - Affordable – accessible without causing financial hardship - Accessible – treatment should be accessible throughout all stages of care when needed - Adequacy – care should be adapted to the needs of patients - Appropriate – service should be relevant to the health needs of different populations. This new definition of access was also elaborated in cooperation with the Patient Access Partnership, a patient-led network bringing together patients, the health community, industry and policy makers to develop innovative solutions to reduce inequities in access. EPF Honorary President Anders Olauson is currently chairing the Steering Committee of the Partnership, with MedTech Europe representing industry on a rotating basis. Whilst...
This blog is part 7 of a series on MEAT Value-Based Procurement, an initiative that advocates a shift from price-based procurement towards value-based procurement in healthcare. It does so by defining a Best Price Quality Ratio method within the Most Economically Advantageous Tendering (MEAT) framework put forward in the European Public Procurement directive. Read part 1 , part 2 , part 3 , part 4 and part 5 and part 6 . Our health systems need reforms to maintain universal health coverage and, given the economic and demographic pressures we face, Europe cannot afford its citizens to be in poor health. This will require new thinking about the economic value of health for individuals, families and society (health as an economic good) in addition to the economics (the cost-efficiency) of healthcare systems. Instead of focusing on the costs of healthcare, we must consider what is delivered. The full value of investing in health and quality healthcare can be realised by focussing on health outcomes complemented and enhanced by the economic value offered by being in good health and having cost-efficient health systems. This value-oriented approach can be implemented when purchasing health technologies. It is already seen in some modern procurement procedures resulting in the highest economic value in addition to best health outcomes. These most economically-advantageous tenders (MEAT) can deliver optimal value to society. To make informed decisions about what constitutes value, we need to consider the full value that health investments bring – not just the outcomes for patients or for hospitals, but the full impact these interventions can bring to society by keeping people in good health. Defining value The real economic consequences of being in a state of ill-health are not solely related to the direct costs of health and care, but include wider socio-economic consequences and...
The medical technology industry creates over half a million different products, from pacemakers and artificial hips to condoms and pregnancy tests. Despite the impact these products have on millions of people of all ages every day, medtech is still a little known and often misunderstood sector. With European MedTech Week now in its second year, we want to change this. From 13-17 June, the MedTech sector is hosting activities across the continent to raise awareness of the industry and the life-changing innovation we invest in and provide. MedTech Week is a chance for the entire healthcare community to discuss the future of Europe’s health and how medical technology can address current challenges and ensure more sustainable pathways of care. There is a lot that we can do. The medtech sector is at the cutting edge of research and development. It employs some of the world’s most skilled doctors, engineers, and scientists. From prevention to diagnosis, treatment and cure medtech innovations are absolutely crucial to public health and patient wellbeing. For my part, I also see MedTech Week as an opportunity to reinforce our industry’s commitment to high ethical standards. Our sector works closely with healthcare professionals to develop new and innovative technologies that drive improvements in patient care. Commitment to a robust Code of Ethical Business Practice safeguards these important relationships. This is why MedTech Europe recently endorsed an updated ‘Code’ which applies both to device and diagnostic companies. The Code provides a clear framework for open and transparent interactions between industry and healthcare professionals, ensuring that patients can continue to benefit from these collaborations. The medtech industry partners with all types of professionals on a daily basis so I am delighted that this year, the dedicated website for European MedTech Week www.medtechweek.eu will feature their perspectives, along with those...