diagnostics

As Germany goes to the polls, the VDGH, which represents in vitro diagnostics companies in Germany, has published a new policy paper on the future of healthcare. VDGH Managing Director Martin Walger tells Gary Finnegan why this is a crucial moment for health policy The paper was released just ahead of federal elections in Germany and seeks to highlight the value of laboratory diagnostics. Tackling major challenges such as access to laboratory innovations, pricing challenges and personalised medicines, the report also applies to other European markets. What practical steps can be taken to accelerate access to laboratory innovations? This is one of the most difficult tasks we have to tackle and there are no simple solutions. If assessment procedures take significantly longer than the IVD product lifecycle, industry will suffer. But do we persuade politicians and decision makers with that argument? We are asking for appropriate methods and decision procedures which are transparent. Are you concerned that prices do not match the quality/value of diagnostic products? Is the situation any worse for diagnostics than it is for devices, IT or medicines? The German market is faced with very low prices for most diagnostics services, and this is especially pronounced in clinical chemistry. A high market concentration among the medical laboratories makes this problem worse. In the long run, the innovation capabilities of our industry also depend on the level of remuneration. Can you give an example of how early diagnosis can improve outcomes for patients and deliver long-term value for the economy and society? As far as I can see, the benefits of early diagnosis to prevent colon cancer are the best documented. Germany will rearrange its early detection programme this year, introducing iFOB-Tests and regular invitations for statutory health insurance patents to participate. The same applies to cervical cancer...
International efforts to tackle the hepatitis pandemic have reached new heights, especially in the past year since the 69 th World Health Assembly (WHA) endorsed the Global Health Sector Strategy (GHSS) on viral hepatitis 2016–2021 . It is estimated that some 325 million people worldwide are living with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection alone, and a large portion of these people lack access to life-saving testing and treatment. As a result, millions are at risk of chronic liver disease, cancer and death. To this end, the GHSS calls for the elimination of all types of viral hepatitis (A, B, C, D & E) as a public health threat by 2030 ‒ reducing new infections by 90% and mortality by 65%. Indeed, mortality caused by viral hepatitis is on the rise, with 1.4 million deaths believed to be caused by the disease in 2015. The focus is on HBV and HCV, both blood-borne infections that are responsible for 96% of all hepatitis mortality. Medtech’s contribution On a positive note, a Global Hepatitis Report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in April 2017 says that eliminating viral hepatitis is “technically feasible”. Medical technology will play a critical role. The report points out, for example, that key innovations include rapid serological tests to detect antibodies to HCV as well as point-of-care tests to diagnose HCV infection. Newer and cheaper point-of-care rapid tests, such as those for HBV and affordable ones for HCV, could accelerate the elimination of hepatitis. The WHO’s first-ever viral hepatitis testing guidelines recommend the use of rapid diagnostic tests for hard-to-reach populations and targeted testing in groups most affected by HBV and HCV, such as people who inject drugs, those with HIV and children of mothers with HBV or HCV infection. Simple and...
The 2017 Arab Health Exhibition & Congress and MEDLAB 2017 in Dubai were a celebration of healthcare innovation, with 4,400 of the world's leading healthcare companies from 70 countries attending the events. We, at Siemens Healthineers , were excited to showcase our pioneering spirit and engineering expertise, as well as the many diagnostic solutions we deliver across the globe to help healthcare professionals adapt to the changing healthcare environment. The MEDLAB exhibition featured products from laboratory, point-of-care and molecular diagnostics portfolios. We were especially honored to have our new solutions on display in a private viewing area in the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention’s exhibition space during the 2017 Arab Health Exhibition & Congress. We were pleased to present part of our new portfolio at these two major industry events. We were happy to see that in the context of growing importance of digitalization and automation across the healthcare industry, the high interest among UAE dignitaries and heads of state was not scarce. Photo Credits: Arab Health Facebook Page
Authors: this article was written by Hans Martens, Martha Emneus , Anders Green and Camilla Sortso . This is the first blog of the series presenting the economic value of being in good health and the broader consideration of cost of disease. Europe’s health systems are struggling to maintain sustainability. One of the major challenges is the exponential increase in the prevalence of chronic diseases and the number of patients in advanced and costly disease stages. A challenge, which is predicted to only increase in the years to come. Chronic diseases make high demands on health systems for continuous, quality care. For patients, chronic diseases are associated with shorter lifetime, reduced quality of life and economic as well as socio-economic burdens on the patients, their caregivers - formal or informal. For society, the burden is excess healthcare, pharmaceuticals, nursing, reduced labour market participation and ability to be socially and economically active and premature mortality. Altogether these costs underpin the major challenge of chronic diseases for our societies – not least in Europe where health is a collective rather than an individualised responsibility. This challenge must be dealt with by the health systems and perhaps by reconsidering where investments should be made in the future as with many of the chronical diseases onset and progression can be prevented if diagnosed early and precisely and if the process is well managed. Among chronic diseases, diabetes mellitus is one of the most burdensome with app. 371 million people diagnosed globally and evidence of rapidly increasing prevalence. In a recent study from Denmark it was estimated that costs of diabetes amounted to 14,349 Euro per person year. Of these, health care costs accounted 17% and pharmaceuticals 4%, while for example loss of productivity amounted to 42%. And this is not the whole story, because...
Never before has there been a more compelling time and a more urgent need to disrupt and transform the way we delivery healthcare to the people of our planet. I am the son of a wonderfully devoted Australian country GP who later became the country surgeon in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales. A father of 8, Dad was seemingly forever on-call and, with the exception of his faithful stethoscope, his scary scalpel and his trusty truck, he had absolutely zero technological assistance. No pager, no mobile phones, no EHR, no teleradiology. He was a truly old school practitioner and a mighty man, dedicated to his calling and adored by his patients. As a young lad, accompanying Dad in his old truck on long journeys late at night on those windy roads between each of the country hospitals (trying so hard to stay awake and keep my promise to Mum to make sure Dad did not fall asleep at the wheel), I knew there had to be a better, faster, safer, more effective and more efficient way of delivering healthcare. When my time came, and I followed proudly in Dad's brave footprints, I quietly committed to change the way the traditional hospital based and doctor dependent healthcare service was delivered. I got my chance years later when I set about exploring the possibility of building a simple tele-radiology system over the old 3K copper telephone system to link small isolated communities distributed over an enormous geographical area. This was not an idea borne without experience, as I had found myself performing obstetric ultrasound scans from the back of a truck in remote parts of Western Australia, in oppressive heat, shortly after completing my degree and qualifying as a radiologist. Working with pregnant mums to be in an aboriginal community,...
Consider this: about 60 million people in Europe have diabetes. Out of those who have it for more than 20 years, 75% will develop some form of diabetic retinopathy (DR). It’s a startling statistic. Early detection of DR can prevent blindness, which is why people with diabetes should be tested every year. But because so many people have diabetes – and the numbers are rising – screening everyone for this debilitating eye disease is a huge challenge. For one thing, we do not have enough ophthalmologists to check the millions of eyes at risk of DR. And even if we did, the cost would be significant. New approaches are urgently needed. Fortunately, there is a solution on the horizon. By combining sophisticated cameras with artificial intelligence (AI), we can make diabetic retinopathy screening more efficient and cheaper – helping to deal with the growing demand for this crucial service. ‘Deep learning’ is a powerful kind of AI that can detect specific features in an image of the eye with high sensitivity. It allows health professionals to diagnose the stages of retinopathy in milliseconds. At DreamUp Vision, we are using this technology as a SaaS platform, as well as integrating it into a fundus camera – the kind of camera that ophthalmologists use to scan the eye. The technology is so flexible that any healthcare professional could scan a patient’s eye and get an immediate answer if the patient has signs of the disease or not. This could go a long way to addressing the shortage of ophthalmologists, while bringing expert care to people who do not live near specialist health centres. Learn by doing The incredible thing about this kind of AI is that it learns : the more eye scans it sees, the more accurate it becomes. We are...