BRUSSELS – Friday 29 May 2020 - COCIR welcomes this week’s announcement by the European Commission of an emergency Next Generation EU instrument of €750 billion and a reinforced Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021-2027.
In our COCIR Priorities 2025, released in 2019, COCIR had already called for increased funding for, and investment in, medical and digital technologies as part of the next MFF.
The recent challenges and unprecedented pressures on healthcare systems, brought into sharp focus by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, have stressed the need for a greater investment in health and healthcare. This announcement places these essential services in their rightful place, at the heart of the EU recovery plan. This is why COCIR now calls on EU Member States to give their full support to the European Commission and to prioritise the prompt adoption of these proposed funding instruments.
COCIR fully supports the proposed increased funding for vaccines, testing and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). However, the current pandemic has shown that medical devices and digital health solutions can provide invaluable support to the healthcare systems and thus should not be ignored.
- Digital technologies, including AI-based software, play a vital role in the screening, tracking and predicting of infectious disease outbreaks - such as COVID-19 - within a population.
- Decision support software, including for image analysis or triage, supports COVID-19 detection and diagnosis.
- Telehealth solutions can facilitate the use of online patient screening and monitoring, preventing unnecessary visits to general practitioners and hospitals. By remotely monitoring the vast majority of COVID-19 patients quarantined at home, this approach can help identify if an intervention is needed.
- Medical imaging equipment, such as CT, X-Ray and Ultrasound, is an essential component of the care pathway, improving care decisions and making treatments and outcomes more effective through ongoing monitoring and measurement.
- Ventilators are an essential measure in treating the severe pneumonia associated with COVID-19.
Yet, despite their undoubted value, there has been a persistent deterioration in the age profile of the installed base for the main modalities of medical imaging devices and radiotherapy equipment. In addition, there are continuing inequalities caused by the decline in per capita equipment density and the disparities between western and eastern European countries. Despite COCIR sounding the alarm over these issues for many years, these problems remain.
It is vital that we reverse this trend. Given their essential role during the crisis, medical devices and digital health solutions should be made available wherever and whenever infected citizens and patients are being treated. COCIR believes that the newly proposed funding instruments – particularly EU4Health - should be used to increase the adoption and availability of, and access to, these technologies in all Member States.
COCIR Secretary General Nicole Denjoy said; “Leveraging the learnings from the COVID-19 epidemic and deploying these to reform and transform the healthcare systems to meet future needs represents a historic challenge for the EU. It is the opportunity to ensure both the EU and Member States are better prepared to meet future health crises and other pandemic events.”
She added; “Investment in healthcare and medical technologies, from research to the market to the user, lies at the heart of European recovery from the current crisis.”
COCIR is the European Trade Association representing the medical imaging, radiotherapy, 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.
For more information, contact:
COCIR Secretary General
Tel: +32 (0)2 706 8961
COCIR Communications Senior Advisor
Tel: +32 (0) 473 43 07 52