innovation

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 They are working within an outdated framework that tells them their technologies are ‘mature’ when they reach what’s known as Technology Readiness Level 9 (TRL9) – a commonly used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...
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...
Emerging technologies, innovative software and medical devices are revolutionising the healthcare industry. Decentralising clinical trial data is helping to unlock the full potential these tools by enabling people in different places to work securely on data without compromising patient privacy . One of the areas that I find most exciting is the use of predictive modelling and artificial intelligence in federated machine learning – a way to learn from data without removing it from the location where it is stored. This takes us beyond the current established concept of federated databases. By combining several new technologies, we can not only have distributed data – but also distributed 'data fictionalisation' (i.e. the learning from data). This enables owner control of the data during learning. In practice, this disruptive approach ensures that the study is built around the patient, rather than a centralized trial site. It unleashes new ways to use data, transforming how scientists conduct R&D in the discovery and management of various diseases. This new patient-centred approach means data can be collected anywhere – at a hospital or research centre, or from the patient's home using telemedicine tools. This produces data that is far more representative of a patient's real-world activities during their participation in a clinical study. Building clinical trials around patients in their homes and in the community through remote visits and monitoring, enhances recruitment and increases convenience for participants. The implementation of this decentralised research approach is well accepted by patients, offering measurable benefits. It means fewer site visits, making trial participation less daunting. Today's remote advanced technologies have provided many opportunities for healthcare organizations to enhance the overall care experience, improve the health of populations and reduce per capita healthcare costs, globally. As a result, we have seen readmissions among congestive heart failure (CHF) patients in...