73rd International Atlantic Economic Conference

March 28 - 31, 2012 | Istanbul, Turkey

Opportunities, challenges, and financial implications of assistive technologies

Saturday, 31 March 2012: 6:05 PM
Tanja Bratan, Dr. , Fraunhofer ISI, Karlsruhe, Germany
Sven Wydra, Dr. , Fraunhofer ISI, Karlsruhe, Germany
The healthcare economy one of the most important economic sectors in Europe and is responsible for an average of 8.4% of Europe’s GDP.  The large number of people working in healthcare as well as its innovative strength make it a key factor in economic growth as well as employment. This has seen healthcare change from being primarily viewed as a source of spending to a more holistic approach which considers it as an investment in the population’s health and wellbeing and in terms of its macroeconomic benefits, as well as in terms of innovation and international competitiveness.

However, for assistive technologies to become a successful branch of the healthcare industry and an integral part of healthcare provision, favourable framework conditions need to be created. Integrated healthcare is essential for an efficient and effective healthcare system, especially as more, including younger, people suffer from chronic disease. This involves integration between the patient, their relatives, different healthcare providers, social care as well as services provided by insurers. The success of assistive technologies will also depend on the active collaboration of these stakeholders, and this cannot be achieved without the appropriate infrastructure and adequate reimbursement being in place.

This presentation attempts to shed some light on how the potential of assistive technologies can be realised and how barriers to diffusion can be overcome. It also considers some of the financial implications both in terms of contribution to the economy as well as necessary changes to reimbursement. Assistive technologies are recognised not as a panacea but as a tool that needs to be employed cautiously for selected patient groups and able to adapt to changing needs.