November 2019

The ESR welcomes the establishment of a new public-private partnership on health entitled the ‘Innovative Health Initiative’ that succeeds the Innovative Medicines Initiative. In light of strengthening Europe’s leading position in health research, the implementation of a public-private partnership driven by cross-sectoral collaboration between the pharmaceutical, medical devices, digital and biological industry and academia, as well as patients and healthcare professionals, will support medical innovation and create new pathways for personalised and patient-centred care in Europe.

The radiology community firmly stands behind the partnership’s broadened scope, achieved by including imaging, other medical technologies and diagnostics, which better reflects a multidisciplinary approach and supports innovation throughout the entire care pathway. Medical imaging plays a key role in the transformation from a reactive healthcare system to an integrated, pro-active and personalised one, by driving advances in research that trigger medical breakthroughs to the benefit of clinical practice and by enabling a shift from treatment to health promotion and disease prevention. Considering the shift towards personalised medicine, medical imaging puts the patient at the centre of clinical practice, embedding imaging technologies into modern healthcare by offering innovative solutions for prevention, treatment, therapy monitoring and surgery. The ESR believes that renewed attention towards innovative imaging solutions, often driven by radiology research centres across the continent, is key to deliver on medical breakthroughs addressing unmet needs in healthcare.

Taking the example of medical imaging, it is paramount to integrate AI and digital health solutions into medical practice stretching across the spectrum of care. Being a strong advocate for the use of AI and health data in personalised medicine, the radiology profession is convinced that scaled-up research on the development and implementation of image analysis tools along the care pathway will contribute to the transformation of health care. This will result in improved decision-making about imaging tests, early and automated diagnosis, more effective disease prevention and accelerated as well as personalised treatments for patients.

The ESR supports the industry associations’ call for an institutionalised public-private partnership based on Article 187 to ensure the implementation of a long-term vision and integrated approach for health research in the EU, which will provide timely access to innovative healthcare solutions for citizens. The progress achieved in discussions on an integrated public-private partnership should be translated into cross-sectoral collaboration involving industry, academia, research centres, patients and the medical profession to lead the transition towards cost-effective, personalised and high-quality healthcare systems.