Warwick Engineering Impact: helping Greece and WHO in setting the Hellenic Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Agency, paying the due attention to medical devices
It was not long time ago, when (biomedical) engineers were very little involved in any HTA. Warwick Engineering has played a key role in supporting change in this area, achieving significant impact in relatively little time. Since 2015, when Dr Leandro Pecchia was elected as Chair of the IFMBE HTA Division, all the Biomedical Engineering Conferences have been giving growing space to HTA papers, round tables and keynotes. As result, the majority of BME degrees in Europe, USA and Asia are starting introducing HTA as core topic for BME. As result, only 4 years later, WHO is systematically considering BMEs among the international experts to support their action in different Countries, and often Warwick BMEs. Last weekend, Dr Pecchia has been in Greece, on WHO invitation, to deliver an intensive training on HTA and to review and provide feedback on recently proposed Greek regulation on HTA, before this will be enforced in the next few months. The training was addressed to 20 Officers from the Greek Ministry of Health, and was followed by a workshop aiming at discussing the draft regulation and prepare formal recommendation, basing also on the recent publication* leaded by Warwick on HTA of medical devices.
From left to right:
- Dr Oriana Ciani, Bocconi University
- Prof Nicolas Pallikarakis, INBIT (Greek National Institute for Biomedical Technologies)
- Dr Leandro Pecchia, University of Warwick
* Polisena, J., Castaldo, R., Ciani, O., Federici, C., Borsci, S., Ritrovato, M., ... & Pecchia, L. (2018). Health technology assessment methods guidelines for medical devices: how can we address the gaps? The International Federation of Medical and Biological Engineering perspective. International journal of technology assessment in health care, 34(3), 276-289.
11th of October 2018, European Parliament Interest Group on Biomedical Engineering (EPIG BME) Meeting in the European Parliament
Since 2015, Dr Pecchia has coordinated the collaboration among the European Alliance of Medical and Biological Engineering and Science (EAMBES) and the European Parliament through the establishment of the first European Parliament Interest Group on Biomedical Engineering (EPIG BME).
In the framework of this collaboration, the second EPIG BME meeting was organised in the European Parliament the 11th of October 2018. The final agenda is below and the relevant twits are available at https://goo.gl/VMVbMG
This meeting brought together WHO representatives, ‘African, Caribbean and Pacific and European Union (ACP-EU) representatives and the most influential BME representatives form 4 continents (i.e., Europe, USA, Africa and Asia) via their scientific associations: the International Federation of Medical and Biomedical Engineering (IFMBE), International Organization for Medical Physics (IOMP) and their umbrella organization the International Union for Physical and Engineering Sciences in Medicine (IUPESM).
The topics discussed during the meeting where three:
· recognise BME as independent profession, by including BME as independent discipline in the ESCO database;
· to provide an independent space for research in biomedical engineering field creating a BME panel in the 3 European schemes for excellent science (e.g., ERC, FET and MSCA)
· establish stable collaboration with Africa Union in order to help them harmonizing their regulations on medical devices and medical locations among different African Courtiers and with the European one
The meeting was very well attended, with eminent and competent representatives from the European Parliament, European Commission, WHO and four Scientific Societies (EAMBES, IFMBE, IUPESM, IOMP).
· EPIG BME Parliamentary Members: Nicola Caputo (Italy, chair), Lara Comi (Italy, video), Neena Gill (UK, present), Lojze Peterle (Slovenia, not present, Peterle’s assistants), Marijana Petir (Croatia, present at the opening, Petir’ assistants stayed for all the meeting), Davor Škrlec (Croatia, present) and Cécile Kyenge (Italy, participated for 30min due to other commitments).
· European Commission Member: Bernd Rainer, DG Research (present).
· Speakers: Prof Panayiotis Kyriacou (UK, EAMBES President); Dr Umberto Bracale (Italy, Assistant Prof of Surgery at the University Federico II of Naples); Miss Tanja Valentin (Belgium, Director External Affairs, MedTech Europe); Prof Jari Hyttinen (Finland, EAMBES Fellow Chair); Dr Ashenafi Hussein (Ethiopia, IFMBE African Working Group on Biomedical Engineering); Miss Adriana Velazquez (Switzerland, Focal Point of Medical Devices at World Health Organization, WHO); Dr Leandro Pecchia (UK, University of Warwick and IUPESM Secretary General).
· Open discussion: moderators: Prof Shankar Krishnan (USA, IFMBE President); Prof Timo Jämsä (Finland, EAMBES Elected President), Prof Ratko Magjarevic (Croatia, IFMBE Elected President), Prof Marc Nyssen (Belgium, IFMBE Treasurer), Prof Slavik Tabakov (UK, IUPESM Past President), Prof Nicolas Pallikarakis (Greece, EAMBES), Dr Ernesto Iadanza (Italy, Chair IFMBE HTA Division), Prof Steven Keevil (UK, IUPESM), Mr Mariano Votta (Italy, Cittadinanzattiva), Dr Stefano Bergamasco (Italy, AIIC), Dr Antonella Belotti (Italy, Medical Doctor), Dr Carmelo De Maria (Italy, University of Pisa), Dr Peter Grainger (Irland, Naas General Hospital), Dr Magdalena Stoeva (Bulgaria, Medical University of Plovdiv), Dr Almir Badnjevic (Bosnia and Herzegovina, International BURCH University) and Dr Giuseppe Braghieri (Italy, Medical Doctor).
The ABSPIEH was represented by Dr Leandro Pecchia and Dr Rossana Castaldo.
From 2015, Dr Pecchia along with the European Alliance for Medical and Biological Engineering & Science (EAMBES), the International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering (IFMBE), Heatlh Technology Division and WHO, supported two MEPs: Nicala Caputo and Lara Comi in tabling a parlamentary question to the European Commision to recognise Biomedical Engineering profession.
Today, a step more towards the BME recognition... BME has been included in the ESCO database.
The IFMBE is an NGO in official relation with WHO. As such, it is called to participate to the WHO General Assembly (GA) and provide inputs presenting amendments, according to the WHO GA Agenda. The IFMBE delegates to the WHO is Prof Marc Nyssen, IFMBE Treasurers, which prepare amendments, collecting inputs by IFMBE AC members and Division Chairs. HTAD Chair Dr Pecchia participated to this discussion and to the drafting of the IFMBE amendments. This year was particular important as the draft of the WHO thirteenth general programme of work, 2019–2023”.
Two amendments were presented.
Warwick Biomedical Engineering to the IUPESM World Congress of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering
The International Union for Physical and Engineering Sciences (IUPESM) is the umbrella organization for the International Organization for Medical Physics (IOMP) and International Federation of Medical and Biological Engineering (IFMBE). This union is regarded as the world scientific society for biomedical engineering and medical physics and federates more than 100 national societies from all the 6 continents, and the main transnational societies such as IEEE EMBSor EAMBES.
Each 3-years, the IUPESM organizes the World Congress on Medical Physics & Biomedical Engineering, which this year was in Prague (WC2018).
This was the first time that the University of Warwick was so well and successfullyrepresented in this important event!