In recent times, publications and statements by political representatives and various market participants have identified medical progress as the main cost driver in health care. Up to 50% of the rises in health care since the 1960s has been attributed to this. Regardless, the fact of the matter is that to cope with the challenges induced by an aging population, medical progress is essential.
At the recent BVMed-Innovationkonferenz industry professionals of this diverse industry stated how devotion to this progress must be continued for success. It was the conclusion that an interdisciplinary and cooperative partnership between industry, users and research is the basic requirement for medical progress. There was agreement among the participants and the establishment of this interdisciplinary partner networks is a good idea. Various projects, such as that in Lower Saxony in 2008 was the foundation of the Zentrum für Biomedizintechnik/Implantatforschung, which illustrated the implementation of the cooperation idea.
The need for this interdisciplinary research and technology cooperation is vital, as a successful development requires the close cooperation of many parties. It must involve not only the expertise of various departments within the company or the know-how of scientific institutions, but also the needs of customers and the requirements of the supplier. Ideally, the principles of coordination of all stakeholders should be represented in the innovation management of a company.
As part of the conference, BVMed was also clear that a problem may lie in the implementation of innovations beyond medical technology. Although Health Minister Daniel Bahr referred in this respect to the accompanying government initiatives that will contribute to an innovation-friendly Germany, the following is clear from a comparison of innovation capacity of the major industrialised countries: the state policy environment for research and innovation in Germany is not nearly enough. The German government has too little support for R & D activities in the international arena – especially for SMEs. Particular difficulties that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have are in the financing of innovation. Thus, in the zentrale Innovationsprogramm Mittelstand (ZIM), for example, only eight percent of the 30,000 continuously researching SMEs in Germany reached this level.
In addition to the creation of Government frameworks, that allow industries to remain innovative, close cooperation with the industry is required at both the invention level, and the innovation level. Because in this context is often noted that in Germany ideas are being developed, which are then marketed by American and Asian corporations. For the German medical technology industry, it is likely that this interface, facilitating the transfer of research results from academia to industry, represents an important control variable in order to continue to survive in international competition.