Value

Value

Views on the value MedTech can deliver. 

We built the War on Cancer website to give patients and their families a storytelling platform. Now it’s time to add new features and bring the medtech industry and healthcare sector into the community In January 2015, I was living in London with my best friend Fabian Bolin . Fabian was preparing to move to LA to pursue his acting career when he began to feel ill. His leukaemia diagnosis came as a total shock and changed our lives forever. Fabian started blogging about his experience as a cancer patient and gained quite a following. I was helping with some of the administrative and practical issues he faced, and supporting him along his journey. One day, when his story began to make headlines and his inbox was full of encouraging messages of support from total strangers, we started to talk about how this could become something even bigger. That’s when we started War on Cancer . At first, we had a simple idea: we wanted to enable people to share their stories and to experience the love that had helped Fabian during a difficult time. But as the project evolved, we saw an opportunity to do more. The storytelling platform is the cornerstone of the community – it helps people through their recovery process and provides others with insights into the reality of undergoing cancer treatment. Our vision is for a more inclusive community where we invite patients and their loved ones, but also medtech companies and the healthcare industry – everyone who has a part to play in eradicating cancer. The potential is considerable. Not only do we want patients to interact with one another, we envision a community where companies, health professionals and others can also create a profile and engage. Through these channels, companies could create seminars,...
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...
Artificial intelligence technology can help to meet rising demand for early detection of melanoma. Skin cancer and melanoma (the most severe type of skin cancer) are becoming a social health issue. The incidence has been rising. Currently, between 2 and 3 million non-melanoma skin cancers and 132,000 melanoma skin cancers occur globally each year. Experts agree that early detection is essential and can save lives. One third of those diagnosed are below 50 at the time of diagnosis. There is still no medical cure, but recently some new treatments have emerged that can help to extend life for few years. Those new treatments for advanced melanoma come at a cost, but, if detected at an early stage and removed by excision, the cost is more than 100 times less. Early detection starts with population awareness – people should always consult their doctor if they are in any doubt about a mole. However, the trouble is that early-stage melanoma can easily be confused with benign moles, and 90% of the population has at least one mole. With cases on the rise, the number of dermatologists will soon be insufficient to cope with the increased workload. New ideas are sorely needed. Wanted: innovative solutions I ask often myself why around 30% of melanoma are still detected at an advance stage? Why are there so many benign lesions excised – about 20 to 30 times more than the number of malignant lesions? Why is it so difficult for general practitioners, who are very often acting as a first point of contact, to do an efficient skin exam? I believe that with new technologies and e-health, which allow us to set up new processes and bring innovative healthcare services to clinics, solutions can be found to overcome those issues. When dermatologists began using dermoscopy...
What is your day-to-day work like? How do you help improve or save people's lives through your work? I work in Ljubljana University Medical Centre, Ljubljana, Slovenia and I’m head of the Paediatric Trauma Unit. I studied and received my medicine degree in the same city, in Ljubljana University. I’ve specialised in orthopaedic trauma for 16 years. Caring for an injured child requires special knowledge, precise management and great attention-to-detail. An injured child has unique needs and a multidisciplinary approach is needed to deal with the emotional as well as the medical needs of the child. But the majority of my work involves adult trauma patients and my focus in particular is on elbow, hand and wrist trauma and reconstructions. It’s a busy, challenging role with complicated procedures, especially when it’s a poly-trauma patient with severe and multiple injuries. Every injury creates a different amount of stress: physical and psychological. If there is a severe injury to a part of the body or to multiple parts, the patient’s health status is not the same as it was before. My job as a trauma surgeon is to improve and to regenerate the function of the injured part of the body as close as possible to what it was previously. So with different treatment modalities I strive to improve the patients live. This can be done diversely : with non-operative or a surgical treatment, depending on the type of injury. What do you think are the challenges facing the healthcare system and your profession in particular? The line of work we carry out is very complex and demanding. Having a team that can take into account the specificities of the injured patient is key, as well as supporting the family who are facing considerable emotional turmoil and worry. A high-level of education...
What is your day-to-day work like? I’m the head of a busy Department in a University Hospital in Bratislava and I’m also the Secretary General of IFOS - the International Federation of Otorhinolaryngological Societies. My department is dealing with both inpatient and outpatient care. We are also a teaching hospital so aside from dealing with patients with ear, nose and throat disorders, I’m kept busy upskilling students and providing young doctors with specialised training in Otorhinolaryngology –head and neck practice (ORL). I’m also involved in different research initiatives so when there’s a deadline for a research grant in my field of business this can be quite demanding on my time, finalising research submission with my team. How do you help improve or save people's lives through your work? Rhinology conditions - nose and sinus diseases, infections, inflammatory conditions and tumours - affect a huge segment of the population, particularly if you consider the amount of people affected by allergies. We carry out a number of surgical procedures relieving patients of their sinus problems. One of the most challenging areas of our work is treating those patients with head and neck tumours. We work with a multidisciplinary team to carry out sophisticated and highly complex surgeries. Another area is helping patients with congenital hearing loss. This is another very complicated area, particularly for children with hearing impairments. To be able to carry out life-changing surgery and provide patients with an implant and thus the opportunity to hear again: it’s hugely rewarding. Indeed, by implanting a cochlear implant in the ear of a child, you are forever connected to that child and their family, right through to their adult lives. You can see them grow and develop and enjoy a happy and successful life as they return for check-ups, not impaired or...
What is your day-to-day work like? I work in the Department of Ophthalmology at the Charles University Faculty of Medicine, Hradec Králové, Czech Republic, specializing in cataract surgery, refractive surgery, the treatment of retinal diseases and laser corneal surgery, amongst others. In fact, I carry out over 2000 cataract surgeries a year. I also deal with some of the most complex cases in the Czech Republic. I’m also focused on spreading my knowledge and educating the next generation of doctors specializing in eye conditions and care and I’ve been working internationally too, working with the American Academy of Ophthalmology for example, as well as co-operating with innovative companies to share experiences and advance research and knowledge. How do you help improve or save people's lives through your work? Eyesight is a precious gift. I may not save people’s lives physically by my work but I certainly help to improve and even transform people’s lives. I will never refuse any patient, whatever age, background or complexity, and will do my utmost to restore their sight. What challenges face the healthcare system? The major challenge facing healthcare is the enlarging gap between the advances in medicine and the costs involved. This is only set to increase as the demographics change. Indeed, age-related conditions are harder to solve. Healthcare systems will face huge problems trying to cope with older patients with neurodegenerative diseases for example, or Alzheimer’s. There needs to also be a major focus on addressing the treatment inequalities facing patients. Treatment should not be limited to only a few but to all and the latest in technology should ideally be available. What role do you see for medical technologies to address these challenges? Diagnostic tests can help to address these challenges, allowing people to be diagnosed early and accurately and therefore...