Diabetes is a ‘silent pandemic’. If current trends continue, diabetes will soon be the number-one health threat in Europe. Political action is needed to improve the quality of prevention and care for patients and ensure the sustainability of healthcare systems, [highlighted in the Parliament Resolution of December 2023 on non-communicable diseases]. With European elections around the corner, the European Diabetes Forum (EUDF) released a Diabetes Community Pledge. MedTech Europe is fully supportive and invites policymakers to join the initiative by signing the pledge.
The opportunity for impact with the new institutional cycle
As Health Commissioner Kyriakides recently noted, “Diabetes is one of the key health challenges of modern times and this challenge will continue to grow unless we all work together and take immediate action.”
The upcoming EU elections in 2024 offer an opportunity to collaborate and strengthen the political will to address this silent pandemic.
The Diabetes Community Pledge, developed by a broad coalition of stakeholders, aims to harness this opportunity by outlining actions at the EU and national level across four areas:
- Early detection
- Equitable high-quality care
- Empowering people
- Embracing science and technology
Embracing science and technology
The MedTech Europe Diabetes Group joins EUDF in the call for action, with a particular focus on embracing science and technology. Managing diabetes depends on significant amounts of daily data monitoring. Medical technologies harness this data and enable digital connectivity, empowering people living with diabetes in managing countless health-related decisions each day, while providing decision support to healthcare professionals with more precise, responsive, and personalised care.
These technologies already exist. Yet, health systems – primarily structured around acute rather than chronic care – have not unlocked their potential. Addressing the diabetes pandemic in a cost-effective manner requires policymakers and health systems to actively support the digital transformation and rethink diabetes care.
Call to action
There is broad agreement in the Diabetes Community Pledge on the need for action to enable better access and use of medical technologies. Among the 15 policy actions, several are crucial for advancing the digital transformation of care:
- Invest in digital innovation and develop a best practice pathway in health systems and diabetes care to accelerate access to medical technologies, self-standing digital solutions (such as apps and AI) and digital services.
- Enhance the collection of clinical data, including real-world evidence (RWE), and use of common indicators across Member States. This should include measurement and registration of outcomes by introducing standard outcome sets and outcomes-focused registries across the EU.
- Fund diabetes research under EU research programmes, for example to address unmet needs and leverage digitally-enabled medical technologies, solutions and services for diabetes care and improved disease management. The full participation of PwD and their representatives in such projects should be ensured.
These actions will be complemented and strengthened by the broader actions laid out in MedTech Europe’s 2024-2029 Manifesto to make health systems in Europe more patient-centric, digitally advanced, resilient and sustainable.