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Medical technologies can add value for patients, healthcare professionals and health systems. However, this must go hand-in-hand with safety. After all, the fundamental tenet of healthcare professionals is Primum non nocere : ‘first, do no harm’. I see our industry's role as an important player in a health system that helps people get better, safely . Patient safety must sit at the heart of our industry agenda if we wish to deliver true value every day and in the most impactful ways. The good news is that by enhancing safety we add value. For example, reducing healthcare-associated infections improves patient outcomes but also accelerates surgical recovery times, reduces time spent in hospital, and saves time for health professionals. I am proud of the role that our sector plays in reducing preventable harms and minimizing healthcare costs. However, until all safety gaps are closed, we must continue to support and enhance best practices. Our sectors should always strive to do more to improve patient safety with the physical and figurative tools that we place in the hands of care providers. Driving the debate forward Infection Prevention Week (14-20 October) is a timely reminder of the need to improve patient safety. I believe we will one day achieve a world without surgery-related infections. This is a big, shared task: collaboration is key. It is not the remit of just one individual or one organisation. It requires multiple stakeholders across the entire patient pathway to unite. Only together will our vision of a world free of surgery-related infections come to fruition. To help us chart a course to an infection-free future for surgery patients, the Clinical Services Journal , in partnership with Johnson & Johnson, is publishing a series of interviews with thought leaders in infection prevention and patient safety. I believe this...
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: Why should we prevent cervical cancer? Because we can , A smarter way to fight colorectal cancer , Kidney Disease: catch it early to save lives and money , For kidney disease patients, treatment education and choice are key to better outcomes , Diagnosing severe hearing loss and deafness ****************************************** World Cancer Day (4 February) is an annual reminder of the heavy burden of cancer globally. We all know someone affected by this disease – a friend, a neighbour, a loved one. While outcomes are improving in many forms of the disease, the word ‘cancer’ still strikes fear in the hearts of those who hear it. Lung cancer is a case in point. The disease kills more Europeans than any other cancer. More than 250,000 citizens of the EU-28 die annually. [1] Lung cancer is often diagnosed late. [2] The impact of the disease can be curbed by diagnosing cases as early as possible – maximising the opportunity for successful surgery or treatment. 2 When diagnosed in the late stages of disease, the chances of being alive in five years’ time are not good: for those diagnosed with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer, the average five-year survival rates range from 2% to 13%. [3] The outlook is considerably better when diagnosed at stage I. Globally, most patients (58-73%) whose lung cancer is picked up in the earliest stage live longer than five years. 3 Reducing the burden Low-dose computed tomography (LDCT)...
Digital technologies provide an opportunity to move musculoskeletal care to the heart of value-based healthcare. MedTech Views spoke to Satschin Bansal of Zimmer Biomet about some of the innovations that will change the field. Will digital health deliver the Holy Grail of better results for patients and better value for health systems? The technologies we have today, and those I see emerging from start-ups, are more than capable of changing musculoskeletal care. These digital tools contribute to the promise of value-based healthcare – improving patient outcomes while allowing greater cost-effectiveness. Digital health has to deliver both of these elements if it is to be adopted widely. What kinds of technologies are you thinking of? Think of rehabilitation after a knee or hip replacement. The six weeks after surgery are crucial to the patients’ quality of life after they recover. A major challenge, particularly in older patient populations, is patient compliance with physiotherapy. One of the solutions is to use wearable devices with sensors that give biofeedback to patients on whether they are bending their knee correctly or whether their mobility has improved. It can become like a “game”, making them more likely to stick to exercising. How else could technology improve rehabilitation without adding costs? The major costs of rehab are performing physiotherapy at a clinic and then later at home. The strong increase in using mobile technology also among elderly patients means physiotherapy can be delivered remotely. The physio could, for example, programme exercises for the patient to do in their own time – and then review the data afterwards. This helps each physiotherapist work more effectively with a larger number of patients – which is crucial as our population ages. In addition, further reducing length of stay in hospitals after joint replacement allows patients to return to their...
High-tech innovation and advanced surgical techniques have transformed the field of ophthalmology, with new treatment options making surgery faster and more accurate. We speak to Professor Rudy Nuijts, a leader in the field of cataract surgery, about the radical changes he has seen and what the future may hold. How has cataract care changed since you began working as an ophthalmic surgeon ? I was trained in extracapsular surgery which involved making incisions of at least 6mm to remove the patient’s lens. In the early 1990s, ophthalmologists in the Netherlands started to embrace phacoemulsification – a new alternative where the lens is broken into tiny fragments using ultrasound energy before being removed. That changed everything. How did these advances help patients? The recovery process was much faster and there was less post-operative astigmatism . Since then, technology has improved further: the machinery we use results in a more stable anterior chamber, with less risk of posterior capsule rupture and there is much more choice and versatility in the range of lenses available for implantation. Are there other technological advances that have improved outcomes for patients? The introduction of multifocal intraocular lenses (IOLs) has meant patients can be spectacle-independent after cataract surgery. Instead of just fixing the cloudy vision caused by their cataract, patients can now have a refractive lens implanted which improves their vision. These include toric IOLs which allow us to correct astigmatism and make patients spectacle independent for distance. Another big leap forward has been multifocal lenses. Most surgeons in Europe have, over the last year or two, moved from bifocal to trifocal lenses. This has big advantages for patients. For example, with multifocal trifocal lenses they can read at intermediate distances – for iPads or reading a computer screen, this is a distinct advantage. Bifocal lenses were...
The range of treatment options for patients with vision problems has expanded dramatically over the past two decades. This has helped to improve outcomes for patients while delivering shorter recovery times. But with so many possibilities available for vision correction, cataract removal and glaucoma surgery, how can patients make informed decisions that give them the best chance of getting the result they expect? While some turn to the internet or rely on the experiences of friends and family, the role of experienced ophthalmologists in demystifying treatment options is now greater than ever, according to Professor Carlos Palomino Bautista, Head of Ophthalmology Services, at the University Hospital of Quirón in Madrid. He says his long career in ophthalmology can be divided into two periods – the era before patients had the internet, and the period thereafter. Each has its own pros and cons. “Patients are increasingly aware of what is possible. We have a lot of patients that come to a consultation with information found online,” he says. “They often have a particular lens or procedure in mind but sometimes, after examining them and discussing the specifics of their case, I help them to change their mind.” Every patient is different. Not only can age, vision and the physical characteristics of the eye vary considerably from one patient to the next, their needs differ depending on the kind of job they do and how they spend their spare time. For example, ophthalmic surgeons can now implant corrective lenses in the eye during cataract surgery. But deciding which one requires a detailed conversation between patient and surgeon. “For a patient with long-sightedness, who has glaucoma or macular degeneration, there is a specific lens that I would choose,” says Prof Palomino who is also Professor of Ophthalmology at the European University of Madrid...
The treatment options for people with vision problems have changed dramatically over the past decade. New technologies have improved outcomes, reduced patient discomfort and brought an unprecedented level of choice for patients. We spoke with Dr Kaweh Schayan-Araghi, a consultant ophthalmologist at Artemis Klinik in Germany, about the progress he has witnessed and what the future may hold. How have treatment options changed for your patients? Over last ten years or so, the treatments available have improved for people with myopia (short-sightedness), astigmatism (defect in the eye resulting in distorted images), and cataract (a clouding of the lens). Looking back, the options for patients with astigmatism were especially few for those with low or moderate astigmatism – interocular lenses were really only used for people with much higher astigmatism and it was quite difficult to get a precise correction. Limbal relaxation incision was also used to correct astigmatism. This involves cutting into the cornea but, to be frank, the outcome was quite unpredictable and uncomfortable for patients. Most endured itching, rubbing and a feeling that there was something in their eye for three or four weeks. What is available today? The most dramatic change has been the evolution from implanting just clear lenses to implanting a refractive lens which actually corrects vision: we are now addressing cataracts and correcting vision in a single surgery. This would previously have required two separate operations. So, in a lot of cases we are not just clearing the cataract, the patient could be rid of glasses or have reduced dependency on glasses for the first time in decades. What kind of attitudinal shift have you seen in ophthalmology? In the past, the goal of surgery was to improve ‘best corrected vision’. This implies that patients continue to wear glasses. Today, surgeons want to achieve...