global health

This blog is part of the Early Diagnosis campaign #BeFirst Early diagnosis and care can prevent illness from developing and slow disease progression. Lab tests, genetic tests, tests for chronic diseases and modern lab diagnostics can help facilitate earlier intervention and improves outcomes for patients and are increasingly valuable in informing treatment choice. Read the other blogs here: A smarter way to fight colorectal cancer , Why should we prevent cervical cancer? Because we can , Diagnosing severe hearing loss and deafness , Can screening decrease lung cancer mortality rates? and Kidney Disease: catch it early to save lives and money . *************************************************** To me, modern healthcare should be about improving patient outcomes and offering patients as much choice as possible. All of us are patients at certain times in our lives. Shouldn’t we have greater input into how and where we are treated? When it comes to kidney disease, not all patients have time to consider their options and prepare for treatment. To understand why this is, let me explain a little about the condition. Kidney disease is a major and growing burden in Europe . One in ten Europeans has some form of kidney disease but most don’t know it . However, kidney failure is a ‘silent disease’, often diagnosed in the late stages. This significantly narrows the treatment options available to patients, often leading to worse outcomes. For some, late diagnosis denies them the opportunity to learn about and to discuss home dialysis with their doctors. Clinical guidelines – such as the NICE clinical guidance on peritoneal dialysis –recommend that stage 5 chronic kidney disease patients should be informed of all treatment options so that they can choose the one that best fits their lifestyle. Time to explore treatment options The best treatment for kidney failure is...
How do we prepare Europe for future technologies? Technologies such as AI, robotics and precision medicine are a mix of challenge and opportunity. But how can we prepare for this new era of tech in the healthcare sector? Modern technologies have immense potential to improve health through promotion, prevention and protection; this represents not only innovation within a specific area, but a general change of the entire healthcare service workflow. To succeed, we need to lay a broad foundation – from investments and infrastructure to patients’ benefits and acceptance. For Europe to truly embrace digital health, technologies need to be made: available, affordable and acceptable. Europe has the opportunity to provide end-to-end conditions to shape the future of health technologies, improving the life of citizens. Success will not come from a sole player. To build trustworthy health databases we need to cross borders and open markets. We need to learn from each other. Front-runner countries must show the way for others. And most importantly, citizens need to trust the system with their data. The EU cannot reach these results, unless all member states are on board. The specifics of national and regional systems require stakeholders on all levels to work together towards the common goal of advancing infrastructure and engaging citizens. Therefore, the European Health Parliament will propose in 2018 that a Connected European Health Area is established to remove structural barriers and act as a vision for infrastructure, and that digital health is included in all relevant policy initiatives to accelerate a meaningful adoption of AI & robotics in healthcare.. Our full report “Breaking down barriers to digital health” will be available in April. Elin Mignérus The European Health Parliament brings a new angle to the work on health policy. By gathering young professionals from across Europe with experiences...
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...
By unleashing the power of machine learning, we can better understand behaviour, empower patients to make smarter decisions – and save billions of euros . Unhealthy lifestyles are driving an explosion in chronic conditions, including obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. By choosing to smoke, having an inconsistency in maintaining a healthy diet and opting out of exercising, we place ourselves at risk of ill-health. At the same time, some patients are neglecting to take their medicines as prescribed or are misusing antibiotics – with devastating consequences. Around twenty–one percent (21%) of US healthcare costs are attributable to the influence of human behaviour. For example, poor medication adherence alone costs the US more than $100 billion annually. Harvard and the World Economic Forum have estimated that non-communicable diseases result in economic losses for developing economies equivalent to four to five percent (4-5%) of their GDP per annum. A patient-centric approach to behaviour change promises not only to improve clinical outcomes, but to address the rising demand for health services. Better education and awareness can help individuals to make smarter choices. There are a range of interventions available, but the challenge is providing the right patient with the right behaviour change intervention at the right time. If We Can Predict, We Can Prevent Now we have new tools at our disposal, informed by research from psychology and behavioural economics, and powered by technological advances. As someone with a keen interest in behaviour change and the predictive power of analytics, I believe machine learning can help to make our health systems more sustainable. Artificial Intelligence (AI) allows us to evaluate how an individual makes lifestyle decisions and tailor behaviour change programmes to suit their needs. When considering an example of poor medication adherence, if we are aware of who is at risk and...
Jurriaan van Rijswijk (Msc): Founder and chairman ‘Games for Health Europe’ Eindhoven, October, 5th 2017 ‘Games for Health Europe’ wants to stimulate a paradigm shift in healthcare. Consider happiness as a positive condition for good health instead of the other way around. In healthcare, patients can be faced with considerable adversity; healthcare professionals sometimes work in challenging conditions and have to cope with difficult decisions. Global healthcare cost is rising steadily; shortage of healthcare professionals tends to turn into a disaster. Drastic transformation is needed. In terms of Richard Layard's happiness economics, patients’ wellbeing has to prevail over sickness. Unhappiness has a negative impact on individuals and society. It is obvious, unhappy people are more demanding, therefore, healthcare becomes more costly and time consuming. Maximising happiness is of real value. As we move to embrace Michal Porter’s value-based healthcare, we must strive to increase contentment among patients and other healthcare players, in order to achieve a sustainable and affordable healthcare system. Serious gaming can help. Playing is an evolutionary successful strategy for learning, behavioural change, and so for transformation. And above all, play is in human's DNA. We don't learn how to cycle by reading a book! That’s why we design serious games and improve the lives of patients by solving today’s healthcare challenges in innovative ways. Take medication adherence, for example. If patients do not take their prescribed medications every day, it can have serious consequences for them and lead to higher costs for the healthcare system. EntertainR helps chronic patients to remind them for their daily medication intake. Elderly like to play games, like crossword puzzles. Isn't it fun to participate in the world's largest crossword puzzle? In order to join this game, simply scan the medication package, and you are in. Meanwhile you are reminded to take...
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 specific cancer screening tests called "iFOB-Tests" and regular invitations for statutory health insurance patients to participate. The...