healthcare

The recent Medtech Forum I attended in Paris left me with a strong impression regarding the central role that medical technology has in blending heart, science and ingenuity to profoundly change the trajectory of health for humanity. The sector's adaptation to technological and societal change demonstrates why it is now better positioned than ever before to tackle global health challenges. The sector has changed a great deal in the last decade. Firstly, major strides in the field of digital technologies (e.g. smart phones, apps, wearables) have forced the medtech sector to step out of its comfort zone to deliver applications that are meaningful for patients and healthcare professionals. Secondly, the patient population, more tech-savvy and with access to more validated information about their condition than ever before, is increasingly engaged and demanding. Both factors were reflected by ambition from industry, and the challenge to evolve and modernise is being met. I believe that the industry's amazing diversity means that all areas of healthcare delivery involve medical technology. It can be overwhelming to consider the possibilities that medtech will enable. It is perhaps helpful to briefly focus on two burgeoning areas of technology where our sector is already offering solutions, but with a real potential to become far more central to the healthcare delivery of the future. 1. Personalised medical devices When thinking about the potential to increasingly tailor healthcare in the future, thoughts often turn to personalised medicine. Scientific progress in that field is undoubtedly exciting, but the medical technology sector has already made real progress on custom-made and targeted devices to meet individual needs. Technology has already developed to the stage where it is possible to produce personalised medical devices such as 3D printing of joint implants based on an individual's CT scan data. This is the technology of...
In European countries, we have seen a rise in real health expenditure that is greater than real growth in national incomes. But, despite this, improvement s in health outcomes have been subdued. More is going in but less is coming out of health systems. To me, the key question is not only Why has this happened? It is also important to ask how we reverse the trend to achieve much better outcomes while achieving improved efficiency in health systems of Europe. We know that there are high levels of inefficiency and waste in European health systems. But there is hope: the best performing EU countries have managed to improve efficiency levels while increasing life expectancy and reducing levels of premature death. I believe innovation is the key to solving this problem. However, we are faced with a paradox between the 'delivery of innovations' and 'innovation in delivery'. The 'delivery of innovations' has been remarkable, thanks to breakthroughs in science and the digital revolution. Medical devices, medicines and health technologies are enabling more precise diagnosis, monitoring and treatment. At the same time, 'innovation in delivery' of healthcare services has been all but stagnant. This is a source of inefficiency; a failure to improve the effectiveness, equity and responsiveness of health care required to achieve better and more consistent outcomes. And so, while the world around us changes, healthcare is a laggard in terms of how it delivers services. Entertainment, communication, banking and government services have responded to technological advances to rethink how they meet the needs of citizens and consumers. We cannot afford this any longer. New funding and investment models are critically needed for transformative innovations in health systems to achieve value, ensure sustainability and protect universal health coverage enjoyed by citizens of Europe. A sustainable model By incorporating value...
Artificial Intelligence
At the turn of the century, healthcare companies were at the zenith of an ‘innovate-manufacture-sell’ business model. It was a good time to be in medical technology. European and American companies were leading the way. While for many companies, this model is still alive and well, those at the forefront of the AI and robotics curve know they are part of a new revolution in healthcare. In the not too distant future our measurements of success won’t be in units sold, but instead in dramatically better outcomes for more patients everywhere, as well as in software programmes being used, numbers of surgeons trained, and millions of euros saved for health systems. This is all because of the promise artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and big data hold to improve clinical outcomes, reduce health system costs and heighten the patient experience. These just so happen to be the core challenges facing mature healthcare systems in the 21 st century. AI, robotics and big data: Bigger than the sum of their parts It’s important not to see AI, robotics and big data as one amorphous ‘digital’ concept. They are concrete, separate advances in technology that, when applied to healthcare deliver results bigger than the sum of their parts. Increasing computing processing power means larger and larger data sets can be collected. In the past, medical research considered a few thousand patients a large study. Hospitals often conducted their research in isolation. Today, data sets on clinical outcomes for entire populations can be collected to provide powerful insights. Robotics started to take off in the late 2000s as a means of driving forward the advances made during the laparoscopic revolution of the 1990s. With ever increasing precision of robots, robotic surgery is being expanded to delicate eye surgery, neurosurgery and re-constructive microsurgeries (e.g. blood...