Jürgen Schulze, Vice-Chairman of MedTech Europe, believes we have to face up to some harsh realities and get the conversations going – now
JS: I sincerely believe that we can make healthcare systems more sustainable and address challenges like rising healthcare costs, home care needs, the ageing population, and higher expectations for health services amongst European citizens. To achieve this, we need to move from the silo mentality we currently have in healthcare systems to outcomes-orientated systems. The medtech industry must be a key actor in creating this shift together with key stakeholders including patients, clinicians, payers and politicians.
The resistance of current national healthcare systems. We need high level and open-minded dialogues between key stakeholders at national levels and medtech industry representatives. The medtech industry, for its part, must be creative when it comes to changing existing business models.
The medical device and in-vitro diagnostic industries have moved to one common industry association – MedTech Europe, representing medical technologies throughout the entire healthcare continuum. We are ready to talk about ‘outcome’ in a broader sense now. And we have started the dialogues already.
It must be a common approach between key stakeholders: patients, clinicians, payers and policy makers. Industry may need to play a central role here.
Social health care systems are currently managed using an ‘expense and cost’ approach, with a silo mentality. The next disruption we envisage is the creation of healthcare systems where investment decisions are based on outcomes, also taking into considerations the impact on the quality of life of patients. Big data will provide transparency about the medical and economic outcomes of new treatments. The medtech industry will have to take a lead in this disruption.
The medtech industry and healthcare providers should cooperate closely to develop the appropriate IT infrastructure to monitor the medical and economic outcomes of new treatments, products and services, as well as carry out big data analysis. Payers and policy makers also need to support this new level of cooperation.
I have asked young people about this, and I’m learning that our current health provision is not sustainable. From the many conversations I’ve had with clinicians, policy makers and payers, everyone expects major changes. The issue is that no one has a clear and overarching roadmap to propose yet. As I mentioned before, the industry is well positioned to kick-start all of these important conversations. On our way we will need to align with other key stakeholders and paint the bigger picture, all together.
This industrial revolution puts European citizens and patients at the centre of all healthcare activities. I hope this era will be remembered as a time when we were able to improve people’s quality of life, while making healthcare systems truly sustainable.
You're the expert! Write for The Engine or share your articles, papers and researchAdd your content
Add your content
Sign up for Ignition, our regular, ideas-packed newsletter