Fast track to clinical innovation: the essentials
The Eindhoven MedTech Innovation Center (e/MTIC) drives value-based healthcare by growing an ecosystem that creates a fast track to research, development, and implementation of sustainable innovations in clinical practice. In this double interview, Carmen van Vilsteren, director of e/MTIC and Kees van der Klauw, ecosystem manager of e/MTIC talk more about the unique role of this public-private partnership and why you shouldn’t miss the upcoming e/MTIC conference on 22 September.
In addition to her role as director of e/MTIC, Van Vilsteren is also chair of the Top Sector Life Sciences & Health. Van der Klauw is also manager of the Dutch AI Coalition.
Formally, e/MTIC was founded in 2018, but three years earlier, the first joint steps were already taken. Five partners then engaged in several Medtech research and innovation programmes with tens of PhD students. After the value and importance of continuing this collaboration became clear, the official launch of the Public-Private Partnership e/MTIC followed in 2018. Within this strategic Public-Private Partnership (PPP), Eindhoven University of Technology, Philips and the three top clinical hospitals in the region, Catharina Hospital, Maxima Hospital and Kempenhaeghe Hospital, work together on three strategic topics in which they excel: cardiovascular, perinatal and sleep. Today, this PPP engages over hundred PhD students, professors and professionals.
A unique partnership
The unique aspect of this partnership is the long-term cooperation with no end date. The five partners have strategic roadmaps that list long-term goals. ‘Every year the horizon is extended and new projects that fit within these roadmaps start’, says Van Vilsteren. This always includes the needs of the patient and doctor. It also considers whether there is a party that can eventually bring an innovation to the market. ‘Our motto is “Fast track to clinical innovation”, we don’t do research for the sake of research’, emphasises Van Vilsteren.
‘Another unique aspect is the excellence and proximity of the partners, which is also scientifically referred to as a successful combination’, states Van Vilsteren. Van der Klauw adds, ‘The partnership has a high commitment from all partners. There is a common goal, but each partner also has its own objectives. This keeps all partners motivated to commit to e/MTIC.’
Systematic approach, mindset and data
Van der Klauw explains that there are three key aspects to accelerating clinical innovation: a systematic approach, mindset and data sharing. ‘Our roadmaps and daily management teams provide a systematic approach focused on continuity with no end date. This is one of those success formulas.’
In addition, mindset is an important factor. Van der Klauw explains that it takes commitment at the very highest management level to support this partnership. But even the individual participant in the consortium will have to believe in the success of e/MTIC to make it work. He adds, ‘We have established process teams that facilitate research, for example the PhD student does not have to worry too much about legislation and regulations as they are supported by the regulatory team, and there is a funding team which can keep an eye on the continuity and long-term funding opportunities. These preconditions allow the PhD students to continue to do their work smoothly.’
Finally, Van der Klauw mentions that sharing data from different disciplines creates new knowledge. For example, interesting correlations have previously been found between sleep problems and cardiac arrhythmias.
However, some aspects can slow down the path to clinical innovation. ‘When parties want to share data, many rules come into play. Progress is often slowed down by this’, continues Van der Klauw. Furthermore, you really need each other in this ecosystem to get anywhere. ‘But finding the right people in multidisciplinary research is not easy’, he adds.
Collaboration with clinical hospitals
To bring innovation to the patient, you have to be close to the patient. That’s why e/MTIC collaborates with top clinical hospitals. Many patients are treated at these locations. ‘A large part of the cardiology patients in the Netherlands, are diagnosed and treated at the two top clinical hospitals St. Antonius Hospital in Nieuwegein and the Catharina Hospital in Eindhoven’, says Van Vilsteren. ‘The collaboration with patients from the Catharina Hospital allows us to continue to innovate within cardiovascular care.’
A fantastic development from e/MTIC in recent years is the technology behind remote patient monitoring. The Health Dot includes a wearable biosensor that allows healthcare providers to monitor patients not only in the hospital, but also at home and at other locations. This innovation contributes to Mission II, drawn up by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS): By 2030, the extent of care will be organised and provided to people 50% more (or more often) than present in one's own living environment (instead of in healthcare institutions), together with the network around people. Top Sector Life Sciences & Health (Health~Holland) works together with public and private parties to promote the economic opportunities of the societal theme Health & Care of the Dutch cabinet’s Mission-driven Top Sectors and Innovation Policy. The coalition does this on the basis of the (in total) five Health & Care missions formulated by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.
Will you be there on 22 September?
On 22 September, there will be a review at what e/MTIC has accomplished in recent years. What are the essentials for bringing innovations to market and how do you do it? In addition, the conference gives you the opportunity to enter into dialogue with various stakeholders. Van der Klauw explains, ‘What can we improve, what can other parties take over from us and what can we take over from others?’ An important goal is networking and seeing if concepts can be scaled up. ‘e/MTIC consists of five partners, but data approach is something we want to tackle on a larger scale, also with Health-RI’, he says. ‘e/MTIC is regularly presented as a local collaboration, but it may really be seen as a national public-private partnership’, Van der Klauw and Van Vilsteren conclude.
Curious about this conference? You can find more information here: https://www.emtic-conference.nl/. See you there!
‘The partnership has a high commitment from all partners. There is a common goal, but each partner also has its own objectives. This keeps all partners motivated to commit to e/MTIC.’
- Kees van der Klauw, ecosystem manager of e/MTIC