European MedTech Forum

European MedTech Forum

Rob ten Hoedt: We are behaving like dinosaurs in denial


On the eve of the Medtech Europe Forum (30 November to 2 December) in Brussels, Rob ten Hoedt, Chairman of MedTech Europe believes we have no time to lose in changing our thinking and ways of doing business

MedTech Europe

MTE: The World Economic Forum has said that ‘There has never been a time of greater promise, or one of greater potential peril. Today’s decision-makers, however, are too often trapped in traditional, linear thinking, or too absorbed by the multiple crises demanding their attention, to think strategically about the forces of disruption and innovation shaping our future.’ In light of this what can we actually achieve?

RtH: This industrial revolution is driven by all the new technologies that have been and will be developed in the next years to come. The way people interact with each other is changing rapidly and technology is the major driver of that change. Healthcare will be affected by these changes too and transformation of healthcare delivery will be the result. In the case of healthcare, this transformation will be accelerated because of the unsustainable increase in cost of healthcare delivery, which needs be slowed down. Medical technology will be the catalyser of change healthcare, just like computer systems helped us to become more process oriented. This will have profoundly positive impact on patient outcomes and experiences through a fully integrated and patient-centric healthcare delivery model.

So what’s holding us back?

The only thing holdings us back is us, the industry. We are not innovative and entrepreneurial enough. We are holding on to traditional business models and profitability expectations. This blinds us to the opportunities out there. We cannot blame anyone except ourselves. We are behaving like dinosaurs in denial.

How do we embrace the opportunities?

Rob ten Hoedt

Rob ten Hoedt

We must accept that the world has already changed and there is no way back. Healthcare budgets will no longer grow, and more and more patients will need or demand care. This is the reality and we mustn’t expect that someone else will solve the money issue so that we can continue to do what we think we’re good at. We need to go out there and position ourselves. Medical technology can lead this change but we need to start today.

Who should drive future change?

It is us, the medical device industry. We have a good reputation. We have the relationships with all stakeholders – doctors, CEOs of hospitals, administration, payers and politicians.

‘The 4th Industrial revolution is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres’. What further disruption do you envisage?

Patients will not have to go to an expensive place called a ‘hospital’ if it is not absolutely necessary. Homecare will be key and medical technology will play a key role in keeping patients at home, potentially in combination with new business models around care.

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How can we facilitate this?

By actually doing it and showing the world that we have greater capabilities and skills than people thought. Besides this the future will be all about partnerships – nobody can do all of this alone. We will need to share accountability, responsibility and profits.

The 4th Industrial revolution is ‘changing our health and leading to a “quantified” self, and sooner than we think it may lead to human augmentation. The list is endless because it is bound only by our imagination.’ How can we think differently in terms of health provision?

Healthcare will use all of the social media we see today and more. Alongside this there will be important new care models for specific diseases.

Finally, what do you think history will make of this era?

This is the age in which the healthcare models of the next century will be developed. We had better have a seat at the table!

About the author

With well over 100 years experience between us, we've been around the editorial and medical blocks a few times. But we're still as keen as any young pup to root out what's new and inspiring.

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