innovation

High-value innovations in care delivery play an essential role in solving the challenges facing Europe’s health system. However, ensuring adoption and uptake of new technology solutions is far from simple. Current reimbursement and access models have served Europe well but are now reaching their limit in ensuring timely patient access to truly cutting-edge technologies and services. Therefore, it is time for innovative approaches to better integrate innovation into existing health systems. To that end, a new Value of Innovation and Partnership access model (or VIP for short) is proposed. Innovative models Let’s look at how access works today. The current approach has three main elements: regulatory approval, reimbursement and procurement. The problem is that some really innovative technological advances do not always fit neatly into existing reimbursement pathways. They may have high potential value but require additional investment or structural changes in how care is delivered. My new opinion paper, ‘Access to Medical Technology Innovations: A Proposal for a Value of Innovation and Partnership Model’ , sets out in more detail the shortcomings of the current access model. Any new model needs to find ways to reward high-value medical technology innovations; provide timely access to these innovations; and ensure that health systems are sustainable. The proposed VIP model aims to do this in a spirit of partnership between healthcare providers and innovators. It has two phases: 1) The research & innovation phase: testing and assessing safety, clinical performance and claimed benefit 2a) The health system accessibility phase: special innovation access programmes to address unanswered questions 2b) The routine usage phase: adoption of a new technology, along with reimbursement or a new finance scheme Accelerated Coverage Pathways for Innovation For most technologies, phase 1 and 2b are sufficient as they will fit into existing reimbursement systems. However, phase 2a applies to...
For start-ups working in paediatrics, competitions can offer funding, exposure and invaluable access to mentorship. Despite advances in medical technology, the fruits of progress are not shared equally across age groups. One of the biggest challenges we see in the paediatric domain, and especially among those younger in the age spectrum, is the lack of available life-saving medical devices. Children are not getting the benefit of many health care innovations because of the mistaken perception that children are generally healthy and thus the small market does not justify the financial return on investment. This can mean some young patients miss out on life-saving interventions while others are treated using adult devices adapted by their clinicians. Medtech start-ups have the ideas and courage to reverse this trend. I know this because I have had the pleasure of meeting dozens of small companies with big ideas for children’s health. For many young companies working on medical technologies, the relative lack of innovation in paediatric and neonatal care is an opportunity. However, they face a number of barriers that make turning their ideas into products a real challenge. Some of these problems are common to all start-ups – limited experience and a lack of funding. In my opinion, pitch competitions can play a vital role. A high-profile competition, hosted by prestigious institutions who collaborate to support paediatric innovation, can be a priceless platform for early-stage firms looking to make an impact. Competitions connect entrepreneurs with experts and mentors. They are an opportunity to win prize money and attract investors. The attention from media and industry influencers can also provide new momentum and, perhaps most importantly, competitions are a way to get new ideas out there. Innovation can offer significant benefits to young patients, particularly in fast-moving areas of research. This includes emerging infectious...
One of my great frustrations is to see start-ups fall at the final hurdle. Too many early-stage companies with promising innovations spend their energy – and funds – answering crucial questions about the safety and effectiveness of their products, only to find that they have no answers to the additional questions asked by payers. HTA bodies and procurement officers need to know the real-world impact of a new technology. How will it influence patient outcomes and experience? How will it change workflows and how clinicians spend their time? How will it shape the efficiency of the health system? If a researcher or entrepreneur cannot answer these questions, nobody cares how cool their gadget is. This is a tragedy. Great ideas wither and die; innovators flee for the US or Asia. From a European perspective, I see it as a waste of intellectual energy and potential innovation that could add much-needed value. I don’t blame the start-ups. They are working within an outdated framework that tells them their technologies are ‘mature’ when they reach what’s known as Technology Readiness Level 9 (TRL9) – a commonly used conceptualization of the path from idea to market. But, in reality, the road to TRL 9 ends before the widespread adoption of a medical technology. TRL 9 is not the destination; it’s just the end of the beginning. Introducing the iLoop It is time for a rethink. Looking at the bottlenecks facing late-stage research groups and early-stage companies, I believe the solution is to marry the development of evidence supporting CE marking with the generation of real-world evidence demanded by payers. That’s where the Innovation Loop (iLoop) comes in. When companies begin testing their prototypes, they should also measure the impact of their technology on the healthcare organisation; its usability and acceptance; and its sustainability...
What key health questions should EU Research & Innovation (R&I) funding aim to address? The Horizon Europe (2021-2027) Health Cluster has provided an answer – well, six answers – which will shape R&I for most of the coming decade. This will also drive my own work in leading the R&I Partnership Policy of MedTech Europe. The Health Cluster shares our goal of supporting R&I that benefits people, patients and populations as well as institutional, social and economic stakeholders in the EU. 1. Staying healthy in a rapidly changing society As individuals, most of us know we need to pursue healthy and active lives. But the societal context can influence our physical and mental health. Income, education levels, social and gender aspects also have an impact on health risks and how diseases can be prevented. That's why health education and behaviour will be an important area of R&I. 2. Living and working in a health-promoting environment The environment we live and work in is a major determinant of health, estimated to account for almost 20% of all deaths in Europe. Pollution, chemicals, noise, radiation, urbanisation, climate change, social injustice, changing work environments, and behaviour can have a profound influence on our health. But there is still a lot to learn to understand and address these risk factors. 3. Tackling diseases and reducing disease burden Non-communicable diseases, including mental illnesses and neurodegenerative diseases, are responsible for up to 80% of EU healthcare costs. Only around 3% of the health care budgets are currently spent on preventive measures. Meanwhile, we are living through a harsh reminder of the impact of infectious diseases, including the coronavirus and antimicrobial resistant (AMR) infections, can have on health and economies. R&I on effective disease management, the development and integration of innovative diagnostic and therapeutic approaches, personalised medicine...
Health systems across the European Union are facing numerous challenges – from the ageing of the European population and sustainable financing of health care, to great variations and inequalities in clinical practice within and between countries, a necessary and rising emphasis on patient experience and patient-centredness within health systems, and significant public health threats. The common driver shared among these challenges is the vital importance of ensuring that health systems are fully equipped with innovative care solutions in the fields of health management, performance and sustainability of healthcare systems to deliver maximum value for the resources invested in them. Therefore, to address unmet public health needs and effectively transform health care, we need to invest more on innovation in health which has the potential to create new ways of thinking and working and ultimately improve people’s health and wellbeing. These transformations will help Europe achieve universal health coverage within the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. HFE fiercely operates to encourage this change by promoting new models of delivering healthcare services that put emphasis on an innovative and patient-centric approach. Today we launch the HFE Compendium of Innovative Solutions to boost efficiency in health care , a best case compendium which offers a series of innovative solutions to address current gaps, improve health outcomes and make health care more efficient, inclusive and sustainable. As a vast proportion of resources are spent on curative services, the system has been neglecting the critical role of secondary prevention, screening and early diagnosis. Accessibility of patients to companion diagnostics, laboratory tests, home dialysis equipment and glucose monitoring systems significantly contribute to the monitoring of pathologic conditions and the identification of specific treatments as necessary. In doing so, these technologies are able to reduce the incidence of complications, save patients’ lives, enhance bodily autonomy,...
Everything we know about healthcare will be totally different in twenty years. But while breath-taking new technologies become available, I believe our most important task is to integrate them in a way that always benefits patients. Emerging medical technologies are fantastic tools with which we can completely reimagine the continuum of care. We can redesign how, when and where healthcare is delivered to improve the quality of our lives and the sustainability of healthcare systems. Artificial intelligence is the most powerful breakthrough I see in healthcare. Digital health will revolutionize prevention, diagnosis, care and long-term monitoring, profoundly transforming outcomes for patients. While there may be some reluctance to ‘trust’ machines today for both security and ethical issues which must be addressed, I may imagine a day when it would be unethical not to consult AI before making clinical decisions. There are other fields where we can see awe-inspiring progress. In nanomedicine, biomaterials, photonics and robotics, innovation is becoming a reality for patients. These technologies can combine to deliver unprecedented solutions: nanoparticles to treat cancer without using drugs, artificial pancreas to make life with diabetes simpler, exoskeletons controlled by the brain of patients with disabilities, retinal implants to treat age-related blindness, etc. Today’s health systems are mainly responsive. We are still focusing on acute, short-term responses to chronic conditions. This is inefficient. I see three ways in which technologies can transform the continuum of care for the good of patients. First, a modern health system should seek to avoid the acute phase of care through smarter prevention and earlier diagnosis. Basically, it is all about not becoming a patient, through wellness care. Second, we must optimize the management of the acute phase when it occurs. Patients who require hospitalisation should benefit from personalized approaches and a faster return to their normal...