Tanja Valentin

Tanja Valentin, Director External Affairs at MedTech Europe. She leads the External Affairs team at Medtech Europe. She is responsible for both internal and external Communication as well as for the organisation’s Government Affairs & Public Policy work.She leads her team to create integrated public affairs and communication strategies and drive their efficient implementation. Her goal is to make Medtech’s voice heard by European policy makers and to demonstrate the value that medical technologies provide in achieving affordable, accessible and sustainable healthcare for citizens in Europe.Tanja has almost 20 years of experience in European policy making covering the areas of environment, finance, military cooperation and health, both inside and around the EU institutions. She is an economist by training and has studied in Cologne and Dublin. Tanja is a German national and also speaks English and French.Tanja’s key drivers include a curiosity for learning and striving for synergies. Her passion is to bring together people with different perspectives, functions and expertise to create better results than any one person could achieve alone.When she is not working you can find Tanja experiencing adventures with her daughter, singing or exploring nature.

This blog is part of a blog series that showcases the medtech role in the different phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read here more COVID-19 related blogs. More info on MedTech Europe's info hub . The medical technology industry have played a pivotal role in the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now it will be central to exiting lockdown and finding a ‘new normal’. None of us has ever seen anything like it: the world has been dealing with a pandemic that has reconfigured out health systems, closed schools, grounded flights and changed our lives. As governments and citizens look to ease out of ‘lockdown’ while reducing the risk of a second wave of infections, we are all asking ourselves what this new world will look like. First, it is worth recapping what happened so far. Medical technologies have been front and centre since the new coronavirus emerged: Diagnostic testing has helped experts understand the spread of the disease, personal protective equipment (PPE) has reduced the risks for frontline health workers, and intensive care facilities (including ventilators) have saved the lives of many people. Even for me, who has been working in the industry for years and I know how innovative and responsible the medtech sector is, it has been stunning to see the commitment and the incredible efforts of the medtech community to fight the pandemic providing to patients, healthcare professionals and health systems. Take testing, for example. Industry developed new, high-quality tests in never-seen speed, and ramped up production, expanding capacity to test for the virus. Now the same happens with tests that tell us about the immunity response of the population. Or look at ventilator production – which threatened to be a bottleneck as the scale of the crisis was dawning on us all in March...
As Europe prepares for a new, inclusive public-private partnership in healthcare, the case for patient engagement is stronger than ever. As far back as 2012, the European Patients’ Forum (EPF) and MedTech Europe sat down to think about how we could work together more closely. We came up with the Patient-Medtech Dialogue – a forum for regular interaction on topics of mutual interest. Now, more than seven years later, the need to collaborate even more closely has grown. At the most recent Patient-Medtech Dialogue workshop in Brussels, we looked at where we are today and how current trends will shape our future collaboration. The conclusion was clear: we are embarking on a new era in multi-stakeholder partnership. An ongoing collaboration among healthcare actors that demands deeper mutual understanding. In concrete terms, patients would benefit to know more about the lifecycle of medical technologies and how products are regulated and financed by health systems. Medical technology companies would benefit to better understand the value patients can bring in setting research priorities and developing products. Learning curve Patients want and should have a role in the innovative process and in conversations about regulation and access. If we are to have a truly patient-centred health system, this is obvious. Take research and innovation as an example: While patients have been playing an increasingly proactive role in medicines development – notably through a number of Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) projects – this knowledge and experience will not automatically transfer to medical devices. The European Commission and healthcare stakeholders are in the process of devising a successor to the IMI – the largest healthcare public-private partnership in the world for health research and innovation. The new public-private partnership will definitely take a much broader view of healthcare -and will seek input from patients and patient...
Diabetes is the healthcare challenge of our times – let’s make it a role model for a new kind of care We know that millions of Europeans are living with diabetes and that millions more will be diagnosed in the years ahead. We know this will put huge pressure on health services, as well on the wider economy and social structures. We know too that if healthcare delivery is to become more sustainable, fresh thinking is needed. That’s why I think it is important to take a positive view of the diabetes challenge by looking at it as an ideal field for piloting new approaches to healthcare. I believe there are reasons for optimism. The diabetes sector has delivered devices and diagnostic kits that unlock the power of information about, and control of, blood glucose levels. For example, the prospect of a closed loop artificial pancreas is becoming a reality. Diabetes is a big, complex challenge that brings together the urgent need for innovative solutions with technologies – from the medical and other sectors – that can help to solve the problem. Missing piece of the puzzle The missing piece of the puzzle is a formula for calculating the value of innovative technologies in this space. To figure out how to value innovative products and processes, we need to know the cost of any intervention (as well as the cost of doing nothing), the benefit of treatment, and the role played by each component of the treatment pathway. The MedTech Europe Diabetes Sector Group is committed to working on answering this question. Only by engaging with patients, carers, health professionals, payers and policymakers can we hope to capture the true value of well-managed diabetes. That is why we commissioned a series of interviews with thought leaders in the field of...
As healthcare advocates, we know that dialogue between patients and the medical technology industry can deepen understanding between those who develop new healthcare solutions and those who use them. That is why our organisations, the European Patients’ Forum (EPF) and MedTech Europe, devised the Patient-Medtech Dialogue as a forum for regular interaction on topics of mutual interest in a transparent and open way. Our experience to date has been positive: The Patient-MedTech Dialogue is an initiative that began in 2011 with the aim of providing a platform for the exchange of perspectives between the patient and medtech communities. At our latest meetings, on 24 and 25 May, we co-hosted two half-day workshops, exploring two hot topics in healthcare: Health Technology Assessment (HTA) and community care in the context of improving access to medical technologies. We were delighted about the high interest and engagement of the patient organisations and MedTech companies that joined. In addition to the exchange between patients and industry representatives, the dialogue also engages with experts and other stakeholders. For example, these recent sessions benefited from the contributions of a European Commission official and senior representatives of HTAi, and Health First Europe. Health Technology Assessment The first workshop on HTA provided us with an opportunity to exchange perspectives on the European Commission’s legislative proposal on health technology assessment and on common rules for clinical assessment of health technologies undergoing HTA. There were also calls from various participants for greater transparency about how patient involvement in HTA processes translates into decision-making, and detailed discussion of the need for funding and training to ensure effective patient input. Care in the community The second workshop focused on community care – healthcare provided outside the hospital setting. We see technology helping to empower patients to manage their conditions and connect with specialists,...
I would like you to think about the evolution of healthcare in Europe and how it is organised. What are healthcare systems generally good at? Imagine a road accident. Frantic emergency phone calls. Flashing blue lights. Within 8 minutes emergency vehicles arrive. You hit the hospital accident and emergency ward. A crash team is ready. Doors are rushed through. Staff is scrambled, and lifesaving interventions happen. It’s an efficient and wondrous system we should all be proud of. Acute and chronic A road accident is an example of acute care. An intensive but (relatively) time-limited intervention. Over time, healthcare systems have got extremely good at delivering acute care, in many forms. But there is an emerging issue. Care for chronic conditions is far behind. Diabetes is one of the most pressing examples of a chronic condition. In a perfect world, a person living with diabetes would have complete and timely information about their condition. They would be able to effectively self-treat easily and, if needed, have support from doctors, nurses and nutritionists at any time, day or night. In a perfect world, the condition could be managed minute-by-minute, and the person would never need to see those blue flashing lights or the inside of a hospital. Perfection and reality We are far from that perfect world. Two challenges arise from our acute-care focused traditional model. Firstly, purchasing and resource allocation mainly happen in short-term cycles. Acute care tends to be resource-intensive but time-limited. Secondly, acute care tends to happen in highly siloed structures. Car crashes go to A&E. Heart problems go to cardiovascular. But what if healthcare systems faced a pressing condition that was long-term and could not be neatly siloed? This is exactly the issue with diabetes, a condition that often lasts decades and can cause complications in the...
Medtech in the limelight during June’s ‘MedTech Week’ This June, we took one week to debate with our partners across Europe the value of medical technologies to patients, healthcare systems and society at large. For the third year running, member companies and national associations came together to demonstrate the value of medtech in our day-to-day life. I highly praise the enthusiastic and meaningful level of engagement and interest from industry and stakeholders alike for this year’s edition of ‘MedTech Week’. ‘MedTech Week’ took place this year from 19 to 23 June as part of MedTech Europe’s initiative to illustrate the mission of our industry—saving and improving people’s lives every day. I was thrilled to see the high number of national medtech associations and companies joining efforts to make this edition a very successful one. This created an extraordinary opportunity for our stakeholders to get to know and understand our sector. For one week, ‘MedTech Week’ was the platform where a variety of professionals from different areas met online and offline to discuss making our healthcare systems fit for the future. Experts from academia, hospitals, NGOs and caregivers put forward their vision for tomorrow’s healthcare. I am very grateful to all contributors who shared their views, be it on diabetes [ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ] [ 5 ], value-based healthcare, smart procurement, antimicrobial resistance or access to healthcare. Their valuable support is a step forward in putting in the spotlight ways to improve outcomes relevant for patients and other healthcare players. Through various activities across Europe, our members generated a much-needed dialogue on how to address the acute health challenges lying ahead of us. I am convinced that a constant collaboration and willingness to explore innovative ways of delivering healthcare based on people’s needs...