EU Commission proposes new health technology assessments (HTAs)
The European Union Committee has revealed its proposal to implement a new health technology assessment amongst EU Member States to guarantee greater transparency and empowerment to patients.
The proposal will enable patients to take greater advantages of technology within the management of their healthcare needs and support the development of new digital tools to further shape traditional healthcare processes, albeit at a lower cost.
The move will also allow the EU to create a ‘standardised’ methods within the sector across member states through the use of clinical assessments. It will also impact manufacturers, where they will abide by one set of standards within the production of new drugs, medical equipment and medical devices.
Vice President of the European Commission, Jyrki Katainen explains: "Reinforcing Health Technology Assessment co-operation at EU level boosts innovation and improves competitiveness of the medical industry. The healthcare sector is a crucial part of our economy, it accounts for approximately 10% of the EU's GDP.
“We are proposing a regulatory framework that will bring benefits to patients all over Europe, whilst encouraging innovation, helping the take-up of high-quality medtech innovations and improving the sustainability of health systems across the EU."
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“The implementation of a new EU HTA regulation will enable healthcare products to be bought to market faster, lead to greater cooperation at EU level and collaborate in four key areas: joint clinical assessments, joint scientific consultations, identifying emerging healthcare technologies and voluntary cooperation in further areas of interest.”
“Access to innovative health technologies for EU patients is a shared goal. Our healthcare systems are facing some unprecedented challenges from an ageing population and the increasing prevalence of diseases such as diabetes, cancer and dementia,” commented EFPIA Director General Nathalie Moll.
“Undoubtedly, the 7000 new medicines in development; new treatments like gene and cell therapies or combination therapies for patients fighting cancer will play a key role in addressing these challenges. Continued collaboration on how we introduce these new technologies into our healthcare systems will be key. HTA is an important part of that process, informing health care decision makers about the relative value of health technologies. In our view, the Commission’s proposals represent a positive, collective step forward in supporting access to new treatments for patients across Europe”.
If adopted, the use of health technology assessments will come into force after three years, enabling member states to adapt its current processes to accommodate this new requirement.
However, not all member states are on board with the proposal. It has been reported that Germany is not keen to adopt the use of HTA reports, but has been widely favoured by member states.
Check Point: Securing the future of enterprise IT
Cybersecurity solutions provider Check Point was founded in 1993 with a mission to secure ‘everything,’ and that includes the cloud. Conscious that nothing remains static in the digital world, the company prides itself on an ability to integrate new technology with its solutions. Across almost three decades in operation, Check Point, with its team of over 3,500 experts, has become adept at protecting networks, endpoints, mobile, IoT, and cloud.
“The pandemic has been somewhat of an accelerator in the evolution of cyber risk,” explains Erez Yarkoni, Global VP for Cloud Business. “We had remote workers and cloud adoption a long time beforehand, but now the volume and surface area is far greater.” Formerly a CIO for several big-name telcos before joining Check Point in 2019, Yarkoni considers the cloud to be “part of [his] heritage” and one of modern IT’s most valuable tools.
Check Point has three important ‘product families’, Quantum, CloudGuard, and Harmony, with each one providing another layer of holistic IT protection:
- Quantum: secures enterprise networks from sophisticated cyber attacks
- CloudGuard: acts as a scalable and unified cloud-native security platform for the protection of any cloud
- Harmony: protects remote users and devices from cyber threats that might compromise organisational data
However, more than just providing security, Yarkoni emphasises the need for software to be proactive and minimise the possibility of threats in the first instance. This is something Check Point assuredly delivers, “the industry recognises that preventing, not just detecting, is crucial. Check Point has one platform that gives customers the end-to-end cover they need; they don't have to go anywhere else. That level of threat prevention capability is core to our DNA and across all three product lines.”
In many ways, Check Point’s solutions’ capabilities have actually converged to meet the exact working requirements of contemporary enterprise IT. As more companies embark on their own digital transformation journeys in the wake of COVID-19, the inevitability of unforeseen threats increases, which also makes forming security-based partnerships essential. Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) sought out Check Point for this very reason when it was in the process of selecting Microsoft Azure as its cloud provider. “Let's be clear: Azure is a secure cloud, but when you operate in a cloud you need several layers of security and governance to prevent mistakes from becoming risks,” Yarkoni clarifies.
The partnership is a distinctly three-way split, with each bringing its own core expertise and competencies. More than that, Check Point, HOOPP and Microsoft are all invested in deepening their understanding of each other at an engineering and developmental level. “Both of our organisations (Check Point and Microsoft) are customer-obsessed: we look at the problem from the eyes of the customer and ask, ‘Are we creating value?’” That kind of focus is proving to be invaluable in the digital era, when the challenges and threats of tomorrow remain unpredictable. In this climate, only the best protected will survive and Check Point is standing by, ready to help.
“HOOPP is an amazing organisation,” concludes Yarkoni. “For us to be successful with a customer and be selected as a partner is actually a badge of honor. It says, ‘We passed a very intense and in-depth inspection by very smart people,’ and for me that’s the best thing about working with organisations like HOOPP.”