The new Danish Health Technology Assessment Council must assess whether the cost of new treatments and health technologies is in line with their potential impact and reach. Medicoindustrien welcomes the new council and hopes that they can create a new culture to assess the value of long-term procurement.
Throughout its three-year lifespan, the Medicines Council has worked to ensure a balance between purchasing price and the return on investment for hospital medicine. Seeking the same for medical equipment, Danish Regions have voiced plans for a new Health Technology Assessment Council.
While this type of screening already takes place prior to purchasing medical equipment, there is a need to assess the value of treatments that involve new technology. In other words, the Council is looking to create an evidence-based screening process to determine what is most useful in emerging technologies.
You have to look at the link between purchasing, operations, and processing. All levels must be included in a value-based consideration
According to Peter Huntley, director of the Medicoindustrien: “the Danish Health Technology Assessment Council must foster a new healthcare culture – one where we take a more value-based approach to what future technology can do in terms of treatments and whether the outcome is equal to what we pay for it. It is crucial that we also have an eye on the long-term impact.”
Offering a behind-the-scenes look, when new technology is purchased today, the public institution often looks at the first year’s purchase price. Going forward, health administrators must get used to looking at the overall value and adopt a long-term perspective in terms of the years the technology is expected to be used.
For this, Huntley suggests: “You have to look at the link between purchasing, operations, and processing. All levels must be included in a value-based consideration, and we hope that it will remain in the assessment council.”
In an ideal world, new and exciting technology would be tested, evaluated, and analysed to determine whether the conditions are ripe for scaling. Danish regions, with their ambitions for the new Assessment Council, have paved the way for new technology to yield economic savings.
However, Huntley cautions that this should not be the Council’s sole purpose, because it would lose some of its potential. His rationale is that if the focus is only on reducing costs, then new treatment options and technologies that have the potential to create opportunities for many patients in the long term will not come to market.
In Huntley’s own words: “The Assessment Council will be a great stepping stone on our journey, where we need to look at what creates value, rather than what it costs. Their activities must influence the way the public sector handles procurements. Simply put, we need to be more holistic when we evaluate a product’s abilities and the Assessment Council can be a platform for systematic screening.”
More broadly, Huntley points to innovations in healthcare – how they often happen sporadically among passionate entrepreneurs. His hope for the Assessment Council is to foster a systematic assessment of new technology and create better conditions for citizens across the country to benefit from new technology.
Huntley goes on to explain that: ”To be at the forefront, we must ensure that Denmark becomes a country where we work with the latest technology and create powerful innovations. The Treatment Council will not solve this issue, but it will help us move in the right direction.”
The role of municipalities
It is important to note that although Danish regions have not yet issued a concrete proposal, it does not appear that municipalities will be involved in the Danish Health Technology Assessment Council.
Huntley regards this as problematic: “There are many treatments that range from the regional level to the municipal level. As such, there are many technologies that need to be evaluated overall. If the municipalities are cut off, you cannot get the full picture of a specific treatment.”
While it has yet to be revealed who will get a chair at the round table, Huntley points to the Medicines Council for inspiration – given its composition and breadth of professionals:
“It is important that council members can assess whether the technology is relevant, so the industry needs to be heavily represented. That is why I also expect the Medicoindustrien to get a seat in the new assessment council.”