"Modern medicine, including MedTech, stands on the edge of a revolution which Australia needs to participate in both as an end user and inventor of technology," says the Medical Technology Association of Australia in its submission to a parliamentary inquiry.
The inquiry, led by Coalition MP Trent Zimmerman, is investigating approval processes for new medicines and medical technologies.
"Cancer, heart conditions, organ failure, diabetes, degenerative diseases and many other high burden diseases will be better treated or even prevented in the future by MedTech as well as pharmaceutical therapies," says the association.
It highlights emerging technologies like 3D bioprinting of human tissue material, artificial intelligence, digital therapeutics, robotic surgery, neurological stimulation, physiological and neurological monitoring, telehealth and augmented reality.
The association calls for the formal and "effective" horizon scanning of medical technology.
It also says that, while Australia’s healthcare system generally performs well, it could be better.
"Access to health technology is good, but clinically meaningful technology still does not reach all patients whenever it is needed. Incentives for R&D and clinical trials for novel MedTech can also be improved."
It calls for the creation of a list of recently approved novel health technologies and that state and territory governments should be required to report on their uptake.
It recommends that evaluation processes at state and territory level be made "fit-for-purpose" and that sponsors should have the opportunity for pre-submission meetings with the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC) and the Prostheses List Advisory Committee.
It proposes other changes to MSAC processes, including sponsor hearing at its meetings and a commitment from the government to fund the committee's recommendations in a timely way.