Eucomed Unveils Five-year EU Healthcare Strategy

European medical technology trade association Eucomed has published a five-year strategy for improving the EU healthcare system by more closely aligning medical technology with health care delivery and reimbursement models.

Citing ageing populations, growing labor shortages and other demographic trends posing challenges to the current European healthcare system, Eucomed proposes a focus on “value-based innovation” by medical technology manufacturers in order to improve both cost efficiencies and health outcomes. It is incumbent upon industry, according to the Eucomed plan, to develop a collaborative model with healthcare providers and regulators whereby industry will:

  • Establish the value of medical technology and product innovation
  • Develop and share evidence-based arguments that medical technology can support health ageing
  • Prove medical technology’s cost efficiencies
  • Expand innovative practices to address looming healthcare labor shortages
  • Increase the medical technology industry’s value within the broader EU economy

Eucomed also recommends changes in healthcare spending practices, noting that currently only five percent of such spending in the EU goes to medical technology, whereas 70% of spending goes to medical care delivery. Investing in medical technologies to boost prevention as well as efficiencies within healthcare systems will require major adjustments to those spending percentages, Eucomed argues. In addition, the group contends that silo-based funding and reimbursement of healthcare in the EU should be phased out in favor of value-based pricing to incent medical technology innovation as well as better longer-term health and economic outcomes.

Eucomed members will be required to sign on to its plan by 2015. Demonstrating value-based evidence of medical technology can improve healthcare systems could drive European regulators to more fully support the group's recommendations--depending on how convincing that evidence is.

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