By Inna Nadelwais, Executive Director, Mecomed
Mecomed and its members have been highlighting the importance of value-based healthcare in the Middle East and Africa region for some time now, emphasizing that population health and resilient healthcare systems are fundamental prerequisites of sound economies. The region’s providers, patients, and regulators face healthcare costs that are outpacing GDP growth, and patient outcomes that fall short of expectations in light of significant increases in spending.
In a position paper on Value-Based Healthcare in Middle East & Africa, Mecomed emphasized value-based healthcare (VBHC) as a model for addressing both these challenges. VBHC is a patient-centric approach and gravitates towards practices that produce better treatment outcomes by cost-effective means. While we acknowledge that transition from current systems to value-based models is not an easy process, we also recognize that a successful healthcare paradigm change will require close collaboration with the medical technology industry. It is here that we find the greatest pace of innovation and the right skillsets to enable change for the better.
In pursuit of the best possible clinical outcomes for patients at the right cost, we find that the healthcare industry must move away from a supply-driven system designed around provider operations and workflow. As Mecomed puts forth in another whitepaper “The Role of Medical Technology in Value-Based Healthcare in MEA”, technology plays an important role in this journey. For example, the recent global pandemic was a shock to both supply and demand in healthcare sectors across the region and beyond. In many instances, MedTech companies came to rescue, stepping up manufacturing of the equipment and laboratory tests, to address these shortages. At the same time, elective surgeries, many of which were suspended due to COVID-19, are now resuming, and medical technology has a significant role to play in managing patient backlogs and capacity gaps.
Innovative technologies go hand in hand with VBHC, as we move away from traditional financing and procurement models that bought low-cost goods in high volumes. Value-based methodologies consider care to be a long-term process from diagnosis to months and often years after treatment; and they favour that long-term view over cost-centred business models.
Medical technology companies are accelerators of the journey away from the old ways towards VBHC. They are already engaging with providers to optimise pathways and improve patient outcomes, collaborating with stakeholders, including clinicians, administrators, policymakers, clinical societies, regulators, and governments, to create alignment on a range of issues.
And as healthcare decision-making accelerates and data propagates at greater speeds, medical technology will also be indispensable in managing and leveraging new data streams. As Mecomed has emphasized in the whitepaper “Value of Diagnostic Information in Value-Based Healthcare in MEA”, the value of diagnostics information (VODI) maximises the utility of in vitro diagnostic (IVD) tests in efficient healthcare systems. Combined assessment of the diagnostic information for its clinical, non-clinical, cost and population impact will be pivotal in ensuring the rapid delivery of accurate lab tests. This, in turn, will further accelerate the healthcare delivery progress towards improved treatment outcomes.
Mecomed and its members actively support progressive health systems that set models and standards for VBHC. We are committed to the continued shift towards such medical technologies, which we believe will serve as a solid foundation for sustainable, innovative, and cost-effective care to patients across the region.