In a significant step towards future-proof cardiovascular healthcare in the Netherlands, the Dutch CardioVascular Alliance (DCVA) and 4TU.Health published the Cardiovascular (Biomedical) Technology Research Agenda. To reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease by 25% by 2030, this strategic roadmap outlines a pioneering approach to address the challenges posed in cardiovascular health and care through innovative technology.
Background and rationale
Both our general public health and our healthcare system are under pressure. We are confronted with an ageing population requiring more care, a general increase in unhealthy lifestyle and exponentially growing labour shortages in healthcare. In addition, climate change and environmental pollution contribute to increase in chronic illnesses, e.g. cardiovascular disease. To cope with these challenges, an integrated approach to achieve future proof healthcare is key.
Demand-driven development and smart use of technology plays a crucial role in addressing these challenges. Technological innovations enable more personalized care, which caters to individual preferences and capabilities (self-management). Moreover, technology is essential for ensuring the sustainability and affordability of healthcare, e.g. by supporting prevention of disease, by enabling care in the living environment of patients or by partially substituting the need for care personnel. But also more indirect by developing innovations that reduce CO2 impact of the healthcare sector, or contributing to realizing a more healthy living environment in general (further development of green technologies for energy, transport etc.).
That being said, this Cardiovascular Technology Research Agenda focuses on capitalizing on opportunities that technology offers for cardiovascular care that is delivered in hospitals. This means prevention of existing cardiovascular conditions from worsening or becoming chronic, as well as technologies that enhance the effectiveness of diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up of these conditions.
Cardiovascular disease remains a pressing issue in the Netherlands, affecting a staggering 1.7 million inhabitants. The toll of living with cardiovascular disease goes beyond physical health, often leading to emotional distress and behavioral changes, including depression and anxiety. Moreover, the economic cost of providing care to cardiovascular patients is a staggering 8.6 billion Euros each year, with projections indicating a 3% annual increase in the coming years.
The DCVA, together with the 4TU.Health center, its partners and scientists from technological and medical faculties, developed this research agenda. The agenda serves as a compass guiding the integration of technology into cardiovascular care, linking the world of technological possibilities with the real-world challenges faced in clinical practice.
The DCVA envisions a future where smart and innovative technologies play a pivotal role in the diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of cardiovascular patients. With combined knowledge and expertise from all partners, the DCVA aims to drive innovation that will significantly reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease while simultaneously curbing healthcare costs.
The release of the Cardiovascular Technology Research Agenda marks a significant stride forward in the pursuit of healthier hearts and more efficient healthcare. With ambitious goals set for 2030, the DCVA's commitment to innovation promises a brighter and healthier future for millions of individuals affected by cardiovascular disease in the Netherlands.