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October 29, 2020

AdvaMed Issues MedTech Industry Principles to Address Racial Health Disparities

“The medical device industry, at its core, exists to ensure patient access to safe, effective, and innovative medical technologies that save and improve patient lives. We are committed to ensuring that our mission is not compromised by the perpetuation of racial health disparities.”

Washington, D.C – Today the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), under the leadership of the Board of Directors, issued a set of principles to guide the industry in addressing racial health disparities.

“Racial disparities and inequity within the domain of health care and access to care for people of color have persisted for far too long,” the principles read. “AdvaMed is committed to long-term action to reach real solutions. The following principles and considerations are intended as initial steps…as we embrace the long overdue call to address these inequities.”

Broadly, the principles call on industry to:

  1. Promote inclusion and equity in health care
  2. Partner in education with stakeholders (such as clinicians and other health care providers
  3. Advocate for and facilitate patient access to innovative technology
  4. Promote research equity in the medtech industry

“Our industry develops innovative, effective products that improve and save lives, but we cannot assume that all who need them will get access to them. With these principles, our industry acknowledges the more active role we must play in breaking down barriers in communities of color to ensure that we don’t allow racial inequities to impact access to advanced medical technologies which save and improve lives,” said Kevin Lobo, Chair of the AdvaMed Board of Directors, and Chairman and CEO of Stryker. “I am encouraged with this first step, and am optimistic that while we have a lot more work to do, these principles will serve as a guidepost that will help our industry enact real change and meaningful progress.”

“Action on racial equity in health care is critically necessary, and it’s long overdue,” said Ashley McEvoy, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Chairman, Medical Devices, Johnson & Johnson, and AdvaMed Board Member lead for the health equity initiative. “As an industry, we’re thinking through how we can transform the way we do business to better meet the unique needs of people of color. These principles will help us navigate that process, and they’ll hold us accountable for measurable progress. We have a lot of work to do, and we won’t stop working until every patient can receive the very best care medtech can provide.”

“Our industry’s No. 1 priority is saving and improving lives. And what we’re saying through these principles is that we can only fully achieve that if we’re committed, as an industry, to eliminating the inequities that still exist and literally cost lives among people of color,” said Scott Whitaker, President and CEO of AdvaMed. “These principles lay the foundation for taking action moving forward. We’re ready to do everything we can to make sure that our patients of color receive the best possible care – and that means we’re ready to tackle the big issues standing in their way, such as the lack of access to and unaffordability of care, as well as racism, conscious and unconscious bias, and health care education gaps.”

“We all agree that every patient – regardless of their race or ethnicity – should be treated fairly and equitably when they seek and receive health care,” said DeChane Dorsey, Vice President of Payment and Health Care at AdvaMed and team lead on AdvaMed’s racial inequities workstream. “But right now, that’s not our reality. Public health data suggests significant differences in how people of color access and benefit from health care. AdvaMed and its members can help address those differences, as we make the technologies and diagnostic tests that can improve health care delivery and patient outcomes. Through these principles, we are committing to play our part in eliminating the disparities that adversely impact people and communities of color.”

The set of principles lays out specific measures the industry will execute collectively, as well as on the individual company level. Some of those include the commitment to:

  1. Facilitate the dissemination of information and materials that
    1. Promote unbiased treatment of patients.
    2. Increase patient and clinician awareness of innovative technologies with an eye towards clarity and cultural relevance.
    3. Highlight the need for minority population involvement in clinical research studies and diversity among clinical trial investigators.
  2. Develop and support legislation that promotes equity in patient care, specifically legislation that
    1. Advances efforts that improve patient access to health care facilities and providers, especially in underserved communities.
    2. Ensures all patients are aware of the utility and availability of medical technologies that best address their medical conditions, regardless of type of insurance or insurance status, socioeconomic status, gender, or race.
    3. Incentivizes the expansion of broadband access to rural and underserved areas, with a focus on access in communities of color.
    4. Embraces innovative approaches to recruiting and monitoring clinical trial subjects, including the use of primary care providers and the use of telehealth and digital medicine.
  3. Partner with other groups – including patient and practitioner groups – who represent the interests of patients of color.

“The medical device industry, at its core, exists to ensure patient access to safe, effective, and innovative medical technologies that save and improve patient lives,” read the principles. “We are committed to ensuring that our mission is not compromised by the perpetuation of racial health disparities.”

Download the full set of principles.

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 AdvaMed member companies produce the medical devices, diagnostic products and health information systems that are transforming health care through earlier disease detection, less invasive procedures and more effective treatments. AdvaMed members range from the largest to the smallest medical technology innovators and companies. For more information, visit www.advamed.org.