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The Empowered Patient

Since MedtechVision 2011, two major “patient-centric” events happened in the U.S. that are highly relevant to the context of this year’s conference theme of The Empowered Patient. We all know about the Supreme Court’s upholding of the Affordable Care Act. In addition, another very significant event happened that received far less attention but is highly notable and signals a new era of patient empowerment: the Choosing Wisely® campaign launched this spring

In essence, the Choosing Wisely campaign provides specific, evidence-based recommendations for physicians and patients to help make wise decisions about the most appropriate care based on an individual patient’s situation. The stated goal of this campaign is to help physicians, patients, and other health care stakeholders minimize overuse of health care resources in the U.S.  Nine physician specialty societies (representing 374,000 physicians) identified specific tests or procedures that they say are commonly used but not always necessary in their respective fields. Not only did these specialty societies call out the specific tests or procedures to be questioned, but Consumer Reports joined the Choosing Wisely campaign as the “consumer communicator” to provide resources for patients to participate in these conversations.

When you look at the specific procedures and tests in the spotlight of the Choosing Wisely campaign, the degree of relevance to the medtech sector and the clinical arenas we seek to impact is clear. For me, this reflects why we chose this year’s theme of The Empowered Patient for MedtechVision 2012: because the patient has, literally, never been more empowered.