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Integrated care: better healthcare for Europe

COCIR* launches its white paper “Integrated Care: Better Healthcare for Europe”. The paper emphasises the critical role medical technology and eHealth play in driving a better integration of care to the benefits of European citizens, patients, economy and society at large.

Limits to the sustainability of European healthcare systems are already visible. Projected growth in demand and cost linked to the rise in chronic diseases and an ageing population are likely to result in increased rationing. Accordingly there has never been a greater need to develop and implement new integrated care strategies that will drive healthcare efficiencies and improve clinical outcomes for people, and there is growing recognition that such investment not only derives clinical benefits but can also drive economic prosperity.

This paper argues that adopting an integrated care approach; taking advantage of the development of personalised medicine and of connected health; diversifying financing and adopting more flexible financial models; and moving from a ‘fee-for-service’ towards a ‘payment-for-outcome’ model can efficiently and measurably improve the experience and quality of care, whilst reducing the demand on more costly and resource-intensive services.

Nicole Denjoy, COCIR Secretary General, said “Our industry sectors are instrumental and have a key role to play in enabling integrated care. Our highly innovative technologies combined with new business models are already contributing to better quality, access and efficiency of healthcare and our membership continue to focus their innovation on providing healthcare professionals with the tools to transform our healthcare systems to be more efficient and inclusive.

The paper provides detailed analysis and promotes six priorities for European Action that recognise the importance of the medical technology and eHealth sectors in enabling the delivery of integrated care strategies, calling for the EU institutions and EU Member States to act and focus their efforts in healthcare with particular emphasis:

  • Promoting the use of EU Funds to transform healthcare systems
  • Using technology to improve access and efficiency
  • Adopting and deploying eHealth solutions
  • Using data smartly
  • Rebalancing healthcare toward prevention and early diagnosis
  • Driving better regulations to ease market access

Forecasts for the delivery of healthcare within the EU point to the emergence of a major gap between available resources and anticipated demand. European healthcare systems therefore need a transformational redesign to be sustainable for the next 30 years and it is the responsibility of all stakeholders involved to identify the key elements of what such systems should look like.

COCIR proposes to systematically adopt an integrated care approach with key enabling roles for innovative financing; the adoption of new technologies; and a focus on prevention, early diagnosis, and appropriate care to deliver efficient, high quality healthcare to Europe’s citizens” said Denjoy, “COCIR is working together with European Institutions, national governments, providers, healthcare professionals and patients to bring long-term value to our healthcare systems. Industry has its role to play but we need collective responsibility and actions if EU patients are to derive the benefits from an integrated care approach.

As part of our campaign this week based on our white paper on integrated care, we will share each day different elements supporting our six recommendations.

*COCIR is the European Trade Association representing the medical imaging, 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. COCIR is unique as it brings together the healthcare, IT and telecommunications industries.