Do you remember the last time you have used a medical technology product? I think a lot of people, including myself, will answer that it was quite recent. In fact, medical technology is all around us - diagnosing, monitoring and treating virtually every disease or condition. And in the 2nd edition of the European MedTech Week from 13 to 17 of June 2016, everyone will be able to explore how medical technologies help in saving and transforming our...

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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 is essential. Cancer care has advanced dramatically in recent times but survival rates and outcomes still vary depending on where you live. This is because access to ‘multimodal care’ – including surgery, radiotherapy, medicines and palliative care – are excellent in some corners of Europe and dismal in others. This challenge is so urgent that The Lancet Oncology coordinated two Commissions to examine the economic case for stepping up investment in cancer surgery and access to radiotherapy, with an emphasis on the return on investment in terms of lives saved as well as economic benefits. Impact of radiotherapy Radiotherapy has come a long way in a relatively short time. The ability to reduce and destroy tumours with a targeted dose of radiation is a valuable element of cancer treatment. It is recommended for approximately 50% of new cancer patients. However, despite this, more than 90% of people in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) lack access to radiotherapy. A report by the Lancet Oncology Commission ‘Expanding global access to radiotherapy’ estimates that by 2035 12 million patients per year in LMICs would benefit from radiotherapy. This life-saving technology requires investment and long-term thinking. A reasonable question for governments, hospitals and insurers is whether the investment is worth it. a report by the Global Taskforce on Radiotherapy for Cancer Control (GTFRCC) , written by...
European MedTech Week, 13-17 June 2016 I am excited to see MedTech Week return for the second year. MedTech Week aims to bring people and organisations together to discuss and discover how medtech transforms people’s lives. Last year’s first European MedTech Week was a huge success: 40 events took place across 17 countries with 34 companies engaged. The online activity was particularly outstanding: there were 82,013 social impressions across Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. We are hoping for bigger and better this year and hope you will come on board with us in June. This year’s theme, from diagnosis to cure , embraces how medical technology saves lives and improves health across the patient pathway. Moreover, our initiatives on the ground will be multi-regional and multi-faceted. We have a wide range of healthcare discussions planned, from conversations on sustainable systems and procurement in Sweden, to looking at awareness and understanding of medical technologies in Ireland. These conversations, which aim to find answers and explore solutions, reflect today’s healthcare environment. Patients are increasingly moving towards greater self-management and empowerment when it comes to treatment choices and lifestyle changes. Simultaneously, healthcare systems are facing challenges and value-based financing is increasingly a focal point for health ministries. Amidst all of these discussions and challenges, we cannot lose sight of the needs of patients and their families. I believe medical technologies play a crucial role in covering those needs: from devices and tests which support a new life in his or her first minutes, to technologies which enable assisted care in the community for older persons, medtech plays a role throughout people’s lives. Underpinning this is the value of diagnostics which can test and monitor thousands of conditions and infectious diseases, leading to faster and more effective live-saving treatment for millions. But none of this...
For several years now, the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) has maintained the same theme for World Asthma Day: “You Can Control Your Asthma”. It is an empowering message for people living with asthma, one of Europe’s major chronic diseases affecting 30 million citizens, of which 6 million live with severe asthma symptoms. Asthma is a demanding disease and its control remains a challenge for many patients. It requires discipline to properly follow treatment; flexibility to cope with the disease and its symptoms; and proper education to know the right things to do when facing an asthma attack. But how can we ask a child with asthma to have such a degree of self-awareness at such a young age? At EFA – the European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients' Associations - we have conducted a new research on the factors driving adherence to treatment among young people with asthma from 12-17 years old. Surprisingly, many of the patients we interviewed said they do not follow their asthma treatment because sometimes they forget their medication. Others rebel against medical advice or skip their treatment as a reward when they feel better. These behaviors on a continued basis impact asthma control and health status. The good news, however, is that young people with asthma trust their doctors and this trust can be built upon. I think the application of technologies to the self-management of respiratory diseases like asthma is our best option to help young patients cope with and take charge of their disease. I am involved through EFA in myAirCoach , an EU-funded project, where a group of healthcare professionals, researchers, engineers, medical devices companies and volunteering patients is developing an mHealth tool to help people living with asthma predict the progression of their disease. To me, mHealth tools...

Isabel Proaño

The European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients' Associations (EFA)...
This blog is part 6 of a series on the MEAT value-based procurement project, an initiative that advocates towards a shift from price-based procurement towards value-based procurement. It does so by defining a Most Economically Advantageous Tendering (MEAT) framework that includes the value of medical technologies, services and solutions in procurement processes across Europe. Read part 1 , part 2 , part 3 , part 4 and part 5 . When the new EU Directive on public procurement was finalised in 2014, replacing the previous framework, it was hailed by the European Parliament as a tool for ensuring better quality of supplies and services and value for money. The European Parliament was also keen to emphasise how the Directive was designed to encourage innovation, improve SMEs’ access to public sector markets and to integrate environmental and social considerations into procurement policy. One of the tools within the Directive to achieve these aims was the requirement for contracting authorities to base the award of contracts on the most economically advantageous tender (MEAT). Contracting authorities were also permitted to use lifecycle costing in their award criteria in order to assess total costs. Previously, tenders could be awarded either on the basis of lowest price, or on MEAT criteria which typically included a balance of price and quality criteria. All of this seemed to be good news for those of us with an interest in value-based healthcare. Defining what MEAT really means However, whilst the terminology was promising, it was misleading. Indeed the Directive provided that MEAT could be based either on price only, cost only, or best price quality ratio. Although Member States have been given a choice when implementing the Directive into national law whether they wanted to exclude or restrict the use of price or cost only as the sole...
Do you remember the last time you have used a medical technology product? I think a lot of people, including myself, will answer that it was quite recent. In fact, medical technology is all around us - diagnosing, monitoring and treating virtually every disease or condition. And in the 2nd edition of the European MedTech Week from 13 to 17 of June 2016, everyone will be able to explore how medical technologies help in saving and transforming our daily lives. What is MedTech Week? European MedTech Week aims to raise awareness and create a conversation about medical technology. Innovative companies, national associations and stakeholders in health, including patients, professionals, and carers, will tell how devices and diagnostic tests are transforming our lives and our health. At the first ever MedTech Week last year, we celebrated the value of medical technology via radio programmes, scientific conferences, press interviews, patient testimonials, and museum donations. You can see a summary of our 2015 activities in the MedTech Week magazine . What will happen during MedTech Week 2016? This year, we’ll build on the last edition’s success and promote the diversity, innovation and creativity of the sector. Together with our members, we are putting in place policy roundtables, visits to manufacturing sites, partnerships with patient groups and conversations on social media. There will also be a series of interviews with experts who will give their insights into how medical technology can care for patients and transform lives. You can visit the new website – www.medtechweek.eu - to browse all events happening across Europe during the week. How can I get involved? If you are a patient, health advocate, researcher, healthcare professional or stakeholder with an interest in medical devices and diagnostic tests, we want you to come on board. You can share your stories...
It is important that the medical technology sector functions within a healthy ecosystem. Our sector needs an environment that is open, supportive and free from unnecessary bureaucracy in order to innovate and provide patients safe and effective solutions to their condition. Within the product lifecycle of a medical technology product, we work with patients, doctors, authorities and notified bodies to ensure that the product meets all the essential safety and performance requirements. Each group has a critical role to play, which in turn enables manufacturers to deliver to patients the medical technology products they need. What’s up? Notified bodies are the authority-controlled third-party, independent entities responsible for assessing whether a medical technology (device or a medical test) conforms to the relevant legislation in force. Over the last three years, however, we’ve noticed a significant decrease in the number of notified bodies. Some have been de-designated, had their scope restricted or voluntarily stepped down as a notified body in the field of medical technology. This decrease has meant fewer notified bodies are available to assess new products and renew certificates needed by companies to operate. At the same time, existing bodies are finding it difficult to find qualified personnel to help with the extra workload. The current situation with respect to notified bodies threatens the stability of the medical technology ecosystem. Without fully functioning notified bodies, our industry’s capacity to innovate is stifled. More importantly, it risks delaying or blocking patients’ access to needed medical technology. Because of these limitations, the approval process can take longer, subjecting products to considerable delays. In a time where product innovation is growing at a fast rate, we need a stable ecosystem of notified bodies that’s able to fulfil their roles and guarantee an efficient and timely service. And without this stable ecosystem, how can...