Members of SK+MED support the implementation of new technologies in the healthcare system also through a stricter Code of Ethics.

Bratislava, 04.06.2018

 Suppliers and manufacturers of medical devices celebrate their week, MedTechWeek 2018.

The ongoing European Week of Medical Technology (June 04- 08) highlights the importance of medical devices and medical technology in our lives. Modern medical technology and medical devices help improve the lives of Slovak patients as well.

 

Recently, SK+MED has tightened its Code of Ethics and the transparency of its processes in the course of interactions between suppliers of devices and technology and hospitals and physicians. The Code should ensure the implementation of modern technology, devices and procedures in Slovak hospitals as quickly and transparently as possible: “The newly adopted Code of Ethics became binding for all SK+MED members on February 1, 2018. Its goal is to tighten ethical standards and introduce clearer rules and stricter self-regulation. The most essential change is the fact that direct sponsorship has become a no-go. Our members may no longer provide financial or any other support to healthcare professionals. The new Code only allows indirect support by means of hospital-bound education grants. Hospitals will decide which workers should receive funds to cover their costs associated with their education. Thus, trainings and conferences will be available to those professionals who are ready to implement new aspects of healthcare in the fastest way and with the largest effect on the patient,” says Katarína Danková, Executive Director of the Slovak Association of Medical Devices Suppliers SK+MED.

 New top technologies in Slovakia and abroad in the past 12 months have featured, among others:

 Ear implants

Ear implants help people with serious to very serious hear loss hear again. In these patients, common hearing aids are not very effective and in most cases do not improve hearing at all. The implant is surgically placed just under the skin and directly stimulates the nerve fibres, bypassing the non-functional parts of ear. The speech processor, which is the second part of the implant, may be comfortably worn on the ear or even outside the ear, for example on an article of clothing.

Neuromodulation for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea

Sleep apnea, a disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep, is the most common sleep disorder which may lead to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Although the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a standard treatment option, more than 40 % patients with sleep apnea refuse to use it. However, suppliers of medical devices are introducing an implant which provides stimulation for the opening of key airway muscles while sleeping. The technology, controlled by a patch, works as a pacemaker, helping synchronize the inflow of air and the tongue function with the help of a breath sensor and a stimulation, battery-powered cable. These neuromodulation systems achieved positive results in clinical tests and it is assumed that they will improve the night sleep of more patients and husbands.

  

Operations in a 3D environment

This technology allows for three-dimensional patient scanning and replaces the eyes of a surgeon. The surgeon can thus enter the patient’s body through a minimum opening, without the need to make associated incisions.

Other technologies are capable of literally navigating the surgeon to the respective site with absolute precision, without the use of X-ray radiation which is harmful both to the patient and the staff. In case of complicated surgeries, for example near the spinal cord, intraoperative monitoring is invaluable. The system continuously monitors the spinal cord and the surgeon’s hands and sends a warning signal in case the spinal cord might be damaged.

 Hybrid closed-loop insulin delivery system

This device celebrated as the first artificial pancreas in the world is a hybrid closed-loop insulin system which helps manage type 1 diabetes. The new technology enables direct interaction between the device for the continuous monitoring of glucose and the insulin pump which stabilizes blood glucose. The novelty replaces the “open loop” concept which requires patients to assess information from the glucose monitor themselves to find out how much insulin to inject.

 TRANSPARENCY AND ETHICAL BUSINESS CONDUCT

This year, the Slovak Association of Medical Devices Suppliers (SK+MED) has also adopted a new Code of Ethics which contains new ways of supporting the continuous independent education of physicians and healthcare professionals in collaboration with healthcare organizations. The newly-adopted Code of Ethics is based on the requirements of Medtech Europe and became binding for the members of SK+MED from February 1, 2018. The primary objective of the new Code of Ethics is the creation of high ethical standards in the segment of healthcare technology, clearer rules and stricter self-regulation in the industry, which is appropriate in terms of ethical business conduct. The most essential change is the fact that direct sponsorship has become a no-go. Member companies may no longer provide financial or in-kind support directly to individual healthcare professionals in order to cover their costs of participation in educational events organized by third parties. The new Code only allows the member companies to indirectly support healthcare professionals by means of educational grants. This means that financial support may only be bound to institutions or hospitals, i.e. through indirect sponsorship. Such independent third party will decide which healthcare professionals will receive funds partly or fully covering the costs of travel, accommodation and registration fees. The member companies of SK+MED will thus ensure improved transparency for funds allocated for physician education.

The Slovak Association of Medical Devices Suppliers SK+MED connects dozens of legal entities dealing with the production or distribution of medical devices and technology. The association was established in 1999. Besides representing the interests of its members, SK+MED also provides information on proposed processes and expertise in matters relating to medical technology devices in accordance with the principles of the European Union. It is a member of MedTech Europe, an international association based in Brussels which is an umbrella organization for suppliers and manufacturers of medical devices and technologies from all over Europe.