This time last year, I wrote a blogpost about the priorities MedTech Europe would be working on in 2014. This year, I’ve decided to take a different approach. Based on what I see, hear and read every day, I’ll outline what I believe to be the major medtech trends, topics and evolutions we’ll be talking about in 2015. Europe is clamouring for honest and transparant communication, patients are asking for involvement in managing their own health and budget holders want to keep the rising healthcare expenditure manageable. So what does this mean for the medtech industry in Europe?
2015 will see the drive towards openness and greater transparency further increasing. As you could read in my last blog, both EDMA and Eucomed recommended to their memberships how to improve our respective Codes of Business Practice. The emphasis of these recommendations lies on phasing out direct sponsorship of healthcare professionals (HCPs) to third-party organised medical educational conferences with rules for the indirect sponsorship of HCPs becoming more stringent.
Naturally, we will continue our consultations both within the MedTech industry and with external stakeholders such as physician groups to ensure we are all behind the course for industry’s continuous support to the future of Continuous Medical Education (CME).
More transparent and open communication is the way forward for our industry
Companies themselves will also continue the push towards more transparent and open communication on manufacturing, clinical trials, educational sponsorships to name but a few. It is what patients, policymakers, payers and all our other partners in healthcare demand from us, and it is the way forward for our industry.
Another major trend which we will see blossom in 2015 is the use of wearables and apps by patients, and with it the consumerisation of care. The wearable market is set to double in 2015 compared to this year, particularly with the advent of the Apple Watch. The device will make continuous wellness and activity monitoring a mainstream affair. And judging by the buzz this yet-to-be-released device has already created it won’t be a product that will only adorn the wrist of geeks and tech aficionados, but just about anyone with an interest in keeping fit and healthy.
Governments and policymakers will emphasise even more the importance of prevention and monitoring
Outside of the consumer market, economic pressures, demographic changes and increases in chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular and other diseases such as cancer, will result in governments and policymakers emphasising even more the importance of prevention and monitoring. So it would not surprise me if next year we see a continuation of medtech companies either acquiring or collaborating with healthcare service providers to even better meet this growing need.
This of course means the collection, processing and analysis of the large volumes of data that these devices gather will play a major role in 2015. “Big data” was omnipresent in 2014 and the tremendous knowledge we can gather from a proper analysis of these bits and bytes will become ever so clear. But to realise the benefits that big data holds, we will have to demonstrate to all those worried about data privacy how anonymised data gathered from wearables and medtech is processed with the utmost care, safety and transparency, and used to make our world-class healthcare systems operate more efficiently, effectively and safely.
We hope that 2015 will bring some harmonisation in the current patchwork of evidence requirements
Lastly, I’m sure it won’t come as a shock to anyone that our healthcare partners will be asking for more evidence on value of our products. Industry has on many occasions come out and stated that we are fully committed to demonstrating this value. Naturally, we have our views on how to best ask for and make use of the data and we hope that 2015 will bring some harmonisation in the current patchwork of evidence requirements without resorting to the pharmaceutical model.
I’ve written a few blogs on the matter this year, one specifically focussing on in vitro diagnostics, while another looks at evidence requirements for medical devices. They explain in simple terms why both devices and IVDs need evidence requirements tailored to their specific pathway to market access and reimbursement. No need trying to shove a square peg down a round hole.
And with that, I’m coming to the end of my last blog of 2014? I hope you have enjoyed reading my musings of the past years as much as I have enjoying writing them. I am grateful for the positive feedback I’ve received since starting this exercise and as such you can count on our monthly written rendez-vous continuing in 2015. If you haven’t subscribed yet, make sure to do so here.
So what are your predictions for health in 2015? Do you agree with me? Maybe you don’t? Let me know in the comments section below.