Empowering patients will boost the quality of healthcare

  • 3 minutes
  • Posted on 07.02.2024

Empowering patients will boost the quality of healthcare

Oliver Bisazza

Chief Executive Officer, MedTech Europe

The MedTech Europe Manifesto: A four-point plan for how the EU can do more for our wellbeing ‒ patients must be centre to building a healthy future

Across Europe, campaigning is underway ahead of June’s European Parliament elections. This marks the beginning of a new chapter in the cycle of EU decision-making and offers us all a moment to take stock.

As we look ahead to the 2024-2029 period, what are the key challenges facing people in Europe and, most importantly, how can we best tackle them together? For our part, we have set out our vision in a concise MedTech Europe Manifesto, entitled Empowering Patients, Inspiring Innovation.

In this mini-series of posts, I would like to look at each of the four main points of the manifesto which explore the key features of an EU health system that works for all of us. The future, we firmly believe, will be patient-centric, digitally-advanced, resilient and sustainable.

Here, I’ll address the first of these, patient-centricity. It’s no accident that we have put patients first. After all, patients are what healthcare is all about ‒ just as schools are about children and businesses are about their customers.


The challenges we face

Europe takes great pride in its robust social security systems and the fundamental principles of equitable healthcare access. However, significant efforts are still required to ensure that all patients across the continent enjoy top-tier quality care and unfettered access to medical services and technologies.

On top of that, European health systems are under strain from budget and staffing shortages, an ageing population, non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, rising antimicrobial resistance, and the threat of another system-straining pandemic. 

While healthcare provision remains a national competency, the EU can play a central role in addressing the remaining challenges that lead to inequity of healthcare access and hamper innovation that can save and improve lives.

What can the EU do to move patients centre-stage? 

We urge decision-makers to focus on the key healthcare challenges of our time, improve regulatory systems, embrace collaboration, and simplify legislation to unlock creativity and innovation. Here are four ways how the next generation of policymakers can help:

  • Reinforce Europe’s ambition to meet key healthcare challenges like infectious, non-communicable, chronic, and age-related diseases, and patient safety (for instance, from healthcare-associated infections, and antimicrobial resistance).
  • Take the best of the current CE marking system for medical technologies and improve it by making it more efficient, predictable, and able to provide accelerated access to innovations. It is time for a single, clear and accountable entity, which is specific to medical technologies.
  • Amplify the role of public-private partnerships for innovation and implement them with all stakeholders across Europe. We are already playing our part, for example through the Innovative Health Initiative (IHI), and are ready to do more.
  • Embrace the better regulation principles by reducing overlap and discrepancies between different legislations, and encourage Member States to pursue more harmonised application of EU rules. This would make Europe more attractive for investment, research and development, and deployment of new technologies.

The EU now has a pivotal opportunity to continue on the landmark reforms that it has undertaken during the current mandate. We are encouraged by seeing progress on transforming healthcare and harnessing the benefits of medical technology to support European patients and health systems while strengthening European competitiveness and creating jobs.

Let’s build on Europe’s progress together.

Empowering Patients, Inspiring Innovation

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