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News & Trends - MedTech & Diagnostics

Senator Ruston and Dr Freelander unveil new report, recognising ‘value’ of pathology and diagnostics

Health Industry Hub | November 28, 2023 |

MedTech & Diagnostics News: A pivotal report was unveiled at Parliament House yesterday, marking a significant turning point in the recognition and utilisation of pathology technology. The Unleashing the Hidden Potential: Reframing Pathology Technology’s Role in Australian Healthcare report underscores the indispensable role of innovative pathology technology in diagnostics, treatment, and disease monitoring.

Hon. Anne Ruston MP, Shadow Minister for Health and Aged Care and Dr Mike Freelander MP, Federal Member for Macarthur and Chair of the Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care, and Sport joined forces to launch this report, underscoring its crucial insights and implications for Australia’s healthcare landscape. At its core, the report emphasises the often overlooked yet profound impact of pathology technology on patient care, urging a fundamental shift in perspective from perceiving it as a mere expense to recognising it as an invaluable investment in healthcare.

Dean Whiting, CEO of Pathology Technology Australia, told Health Industry Hub “The report highlights the pivotal role pathology technology plays in the Australian healthcare system and the actions needed to ensure improved, timely appropriate access to these vital tests. It calls for a shift in perspective, urging a move from focusing on initial cost outlay to viewing pathology technology as an investment across the patient care spectrum. It emphasises the need for a clear policy framework that recognises the importance of pathology technology, accelerates funding and adoption processes, and ensures equity of access.”

Allison Rossiter, Managing Director and President at Roche Diagnostics Australia, passionately expressed the urgency of technological implementation, underscoring its potential to significantly benefit patients and the nation as a whole.

“If we can implement technologies faster (sometimes in less than 20 years!), patients and the country as a whole will benefit. Lab testing, pharmacy testing, point of care testing… they all have a part to play in improving outcomes. The patient stories blew my mind,” she commented.

The report shed light on the adverse effects of overlooking the broader value of pathology technology, resulting in stagnant funding processes and sluggish adoption of cutting-edge technologies, including genomics, point of care, and digital health. It highlighted missed opportunities and financial losses due to delayed access to innovative tests, such as genomic sequencing and diagnostic tools for conditions like heart failure and pre-eclampsia.

The staggering cost incurred due to delays in accessing crucial diagnostic tests, as outlined in the report, showcases the need for immediate action.

The delay in providing access via MSAC to NT-proBNP for heart failure in the primary care setting has resulted in an estimated loss of $5.9 billion in value over the past 20 years, while the high cost of delaying access to innovative genomic tests with whole exome/genome sequencing has resulted in a loss of over $529.6 million in value over the past 5 years.

There is a cure available for those diagnosed with hepatitis C infection (HCV). However, it relies on detection of the infection. The value of a cure can be realised with access to the HCV point of care test. Access holds the potential to save lives and enhance health outcomes, saving the government $1.9-6.2 million per year in lives saved. This can also bring us closer to achieving the WHO’s goal of HCV elimination by 2030.

Dean Whiting reiterated, “The value pathology technology brings, and the ramifications of delays in access when this technology is not readily funded, most deeply affect patients, families, and communities. You will hear their voice throughout the report, speaking to the impact pathology technology had on their lives. These patients and the wider community are often unaware of the transformative power that pathology technology offers, or the costly delays and complex funding pathways navigated. We are missing an opportunity.”

The report concludes with a clarion call to action, proposing clear pathways to unlock the unrealised benefits of these technologies. Recommendations include the establishment of a Diagnostic Advisory Group, formation of a National Diagnostics Strategy, and utilisation of this strategy to guide critical activities, from R&D to accelerated access pathways for high-value pathology technologies.

In reimagining healthcare across the entire patient journey, Health Industry HubTM is the only one-stop-hub bringing the diversity of Pharma, MedTech, Diagnostics & Biotech sectors together to inspire meaningful change.

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