An aging population increasingly susceptible to the diseases of affluence like diabetes and hypertension, combined with declining numbers of healthcare practitioners, make automation of healthcare an urgent priority, says Diego Olego, CTO Philips Healthcare.
This situation could be helped if the EU and European national and local governments spent more money on buying healthcare technology, says ST CEO Carlo Bozotti.
"The public authorities should contribute to market pull," says Bozotti, "Europe used to account for 20% of semiconductor usage, now it's 15% and declining. It would help if the public authorities moved faster in adopting healthcare technology."
In Europe and the USA, the R&D money for medical electronics technology is going into the early diagnosis and prevention of disease and the integration of diagnosis with treatment.
There is also a shift towards personalised medicine where the focus has moved from the organ level to the cellular and molecular level allowing tailored treatments.
Europe has healthcare R&D programmes like HyperImage and Sublima which are pursuing the development of these technologies, but the companies which commercialise them need to be encouraged by more active public procurement policies.