The German Medical Technology Association, BVMED, has published a ten point plan for advanced medical technology in patient care.

The plan aims to provide a basis for health policy discussions in the run-up to the German general election this autumn.

The key points include the need for fewer restrictions on the introduction of new technology to hospitals and the need for simpler payment methods to encourage the uptake of new examinations and treatments.

The plan also emphasises the increasing need for telehealth and telecare across Germany, arguing that patients should not only have access to products but to comprehensive homecare treatment.

“Telehealth should be a part of regular care,” it says. “E-health, telemedicine and telemonitoring by means of medical technologies lead to better, safer, optimised and most cost effective care and must therefore become part of standard care.”

Joachim Schmitt, director of BVMED, said: “Medical devices are indispensable for health and a better quality of life.

"Medical technologies are an investment in life and productivity of people. Innovative medical technologies must be made available to all patients who require them without delay.”

The plan further calls for an innovation pool to accelerate the introduction of medical-technological innovations into the social health insurance (SHI) system.

It adds: “Medical technical progress should be made available to patients as soon as possible. At present, it takes up to four years to assure adequate remuneration.

“In order to accelerate the introduction into the SHI service catalogue, funds should be paid by the SHI into an ‘innovation pool’ to be used for the purpose of medical-technical innovations.”

Other points in the plan include the need for quality rating of medical devices using the CE mark, the need for greater cooperation between medical institutions and industry as well as joint research to be carried out by all players in the healthcare system.