Europe has a problem. We face rising demand for health services at a time when public spending is under pressure and we have ever fewer healthcare professionals. At the root of this problem is a demographic trend that will see an expanding elderly population – in need of, and expecting, a high level of care – while the number of taxpayers contributing to the national treasury is shrinking.
We have to rethink our healthcare system and steer it back onto a sustainable path. The medical technology sector recognises that the current business model is coming to the end of its lifecycle. It is now time to go to the next level – it is time to change.
As an industry, innovation has always been at the heart of what we do. But the future will demand a different kind of innovative
thinking from all stakeholders in our economies. For the healthcare industry this means focusing on our common goal of designing a sustainable healthcare system.
In short, coming up with a slightly better way of doing what we do now and expecting to charge a premium price is no longer good enough. Similarly, our model of healthcare delivery is also coming to the end of the line. No longer can our hospital system provide inpatient care for all of our citizens. We do not have the beds, we do not have the staff, we do not have the money.
This means patients, policymakers, payers, healthcare workers and hospital administrators, will need to do things differently. Indeed, the value of our contribution will only be realised if others recognise that it is a time of change and seek to collaborate to solve our common challenge. Together, we need to be courageous and smarter about how we use the resources we have and to direct them towards models of care that can deliver a demonstrable positive return on investment in healthy life years for citizens.
Bold thinking is required if we are to face this shared challenge: a grand bargain to steer our healthcare system back on a sustainable path. The medical technology indust ry is par t of the solut ion. By concentrating on value-based innovation, we can marry cost efficiency with improved health outcomes.
In return, payers and policymakers must overcome silo-budgeting in healthcare, and shift towards rewarding health outcomes. New technologies which improve health productivity and efficiency should be funded in an effort to help people age healthily and tackle the shortage of healthcare professionals.
Change is never easy but it is imperative. The status quo has to go.
For detailed information on the 5-year strategy of the medical technology industry in Europe, visit www.reforminghealthcare.eu