The Vital Role Medical Technology Plays in Healthcare Systems
COCIR is a European trade association representing the medical imaging, radiation therapy, health ICT, and electromedical industries. Founded in 1959, COCIR is a non-profit association headquartered in Brussels, Belgium with a China Desk based in Beijing since 2007. In 2016, we will celebrate our 10th anniversary in Brussels.
We represent more than 30 companies and over 14 National Associations summing approx. 7000 companies, over 80% of which are SMEs. Together, these industries are an important source for job creation in Europe and contribute significantly to European economic growth.
We have estimated that the Total Revenue for the Healthcare division of our members surpass the 80 Billion Euro Globally.
In Europe alone, sales of Medical Imaging equipment in 2011 surpassed the 3 Billion Euros (source: COCIR Market Intelligence).
COCIR’s mission is to enhance access to healthcare services, while increasing quality, cost-efficiently. Our members have an outstanding research record and are at the forefront of innovation. They play a pivotal role in disease prevention, early diagnosis, therapy aftercare and rehabilitation – in Europe and worldwide.
Medical technology saves lives and is vital in diagnosing, monitoring and treating diseases.
The role of medical technology is of critical importance in societies facing healthcare budget constraints, the challenges of ageing populations, the rise in chronic diseases and shortage of qualified healthcare professionals.
The positive impact of innovative medical imaging technologies, such as Computed Tomography (CT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Molecular Imaging Positron Emission Tomography (MI PET), X-Ray, Ultrasound, and IT-supported processes, is evident and has well proven their ability to enhance both the efficiency of end to end care (from screening and accurate diagnosis to effective treatment) and clinical outcomes of non-communicable diseases, such as heart diseases and cancer.
Image guided planning and treatment support the development of less invasive and more efficient treatments, creating a rapid rise in day surgery essential to manage the ageing population, while driving patient–centric care pathways that can improve the efficiency and productivity of healthcare. At the same time, efficient treatment monitoring systems accelerate treatment decisions and reduce the cost associated with drugs which might be providing little or no therapeutic benefit to certain patient groups.
COCIR is unique in bringing the medical imaging, radiation therapy, health ICT, and electromedical industries together, as they complement each other in driving healthcare systems towards integrated care models.
European healthcare systems are already under strain due to the rise in chronic diseases and an aging population. To remain sustainable, they need to be reformed in the next 30 years. COCIR proposes a systematical adoption of an Integrated Care approach, with a structure supporting innovative financing and fast adoption of new technologies having clear clinical benefits.
To move towards better healthcare we have identified 6 key recommendations that EU Institutions need to take into consideration.
- Promote the use of EU funds to transform healthcare systems
COCIR believes that funding mechanisms like the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) and Horizon 2020 are important mechanisms that Member States need to leverage to support their industries and reform their healthcare system.
- Use technology to improve access and efficiency
COCIR is urging the EU to take a stronger role in helping Member States target areas such as novel financing and promote new business models for medical technology. More investments in new technologies which perform more effectively and efficiently should take place while focusing on improving patient safety and optimising patient care pathways beyond acute care hospitals. COCIR support since its inception the Eurosafe Imaging Campaign launched in 2014 which aim is on radiation protection and optimization of radiation dose delivered to patients.
- Adopt and deploy eHealth solutions
COCIR is leading the industry voice in Europe on eHealth matters. Since 2011, we are producing on yearly basis COCIR eHealth Toolkit, one of the key leading European eHealth publications. This year our toolkit focuses on integrated care. In 2014 we launched the concept of an annual COCIR eHealth Summit, an unmissable event in the eHealth calendar, providing opportunities to share concrete best practices between key players including healthcare providers, patients, regulators and EU institutions. These initiatives are taken in order to build awareness at EU level that actions need to be taken to benefit from deployment of ehealth solutions.
- Use data smartly
Data alone is of limited value. By analysing different sets of health data meaningfully, Big Data can enable healthcare innovation, support medical research, improve therapies and inform public health policies. To maintain healthcare systems’ sustainability, COCIR urges the EU to pay attention to the opportunity ‘big data’ represents.
- Shift healthcare focus towards prevention and early diagnosis
By focusing on healthy living, disease prevention, early detection screening programmes and early disease diagnosis, the EU will deal more effectively with changing demographics and the rise in demand from chronic diseases. This will enable more effective personalised intervention and treatment.
- Drive better regulations to ease market access
We are supportive of the Juncker Commission’s initiative to tear down regulatory walls and achieve further harmonisation, especially in the field of Data Protection and Medical Devices Regulation. The proposed new legal framework and regulatory structure for Medical Devices should remain robust, transparent and adaptable to scientific and technological progress.
COCIR is continuously monitoring the evolution of the regulatory framework covering medical technologies and analyses future legislation. We recently issued a High Level Contribution on the Proposal for Medical Devices Regulation Revision of Directive 2007/47/EC, outlining our recommendations in 13 strategic points. In one them, we urge the European Commission to recognise eHealth and mHealth as critical technologies for the Digital Single Market and identify standardisation and interoperability as priority areas.
As members of the Healthcare Coalition on Data Protection, we put forward recommendations designed to clarify and improve provisions related to health – as included in the European Commission’s proposal for a General Data Protection Regulation – to facilitate healthcare and health research for patients’ benefit.
With the medical technologies’ support, Europe has the potential to move towards a more sustainable healthcare system. We’re happy to see that several of our recommendations were reflected in recent initiatives supported by the European Institutions. COCIR will continue to strive for a better world with improved access to affordable, safe and quality healthcare.