Technical medical specialists will be given full BIG registration and declaration authorisation. This is an important milestone for the study programme Technical Medicine, a joint programme of Delft University of Technology, Leiden University and Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Technical physicians will finally be included in the BIG Act (Individual Healthcare Professionals Act). This was decided by the Dutch Senate on Tuesday 23 April on the basis of a positive evaluation related to the added value of this professional group in healthcare. This provides technical physicians (referred to as Clinical Technologists in the Act) with official authorisation to carry out medical procedures independently. Furthermore, the Dutch Healthcare Authority (NZa) announced last week that as of 2020, the professional group will be authorised to initiate Diagnosis and Treatment Combination care programmes (dbc-zorgtrajecten) and register consultations.
According to the Dutch Association for Technical Medicine (NVvTG) and both study programmes (at the University of Twente and the partnership between Leiden University Medical Centre, Delft University of Technology and Erasmus MC Rotterdam), these developments are important milestones for the professional group and the study programmes. It confirms the necessity of technical medical specialists as part of the treatment team in healthcare.
The six-year study programme Technical Medicine by the University of Twente was first offered in 2003. It was a world premiere for the University of Twente. Since 2014, the Clinical Technology programme is offered by TU Delft in collaboration with the LUMC and the Erasmus MC. Although the names of the courses differ, the programme objectives for the students are the same. The large majority of alumni work in an (academic) hospital, others work in the corporate sector, for the government or at universities.
Technical physicians are specialists who combine knowledge of technology and medicine. They safely and innovatively utilise medical technology to achieve diagnosis and treatment of individual patients. This could include 3D imaging for more accurate surgery, minimally invasive treatment of tumours, or personalisation of respiratory support in intensive care.
Technical physicians have formed an important connection between patient care, technology and innovation for more than a decade and have become an indispensable part of the departments that rely on complex technology. Their specific knowledge and skills represent an addition to the knowledge and experience brought by the physician and other disciplines. Independent execution of medical procedures is an invaluable link here, which has now been specified in legislation.
Experimental authorisation for technical physicians to carry out independent medical procedures had already been in place since 2014. A four-year study carried out by the Maastricht UMC+, on behalf of the Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sport, demonstrated that this contributes to more efficiently structured healthcare processes. This study also showed that patients are very satisfied with the care provided by technical physicians. Minister Bruins has adopted the recommendations from the evaluation research, which resulted in this amendment to the law that saw the professional group finally included in the BIG register.
In line with this draft legislation, the Healthcare Authority announced last week that as of 2020, the professional group will be given first-line status, facilitating the independent initiation of diagnosis and treatment combination care programmes and registration of consultations. The Healthcare Authority recently presented a series of measures to enable the availability of specialised medical care wherever needed. The allocation of first-line status to technical medicine is a fundamental element in this, as it plays an important role in embedding technical physicians in the care process and makes it possible to record the division of care tasks in consultation with other healthcare providers.
- Jaap Harlaar, director of education Technical Medicine, Delft University of Technology, 06 29548600
- Annemijn Jonkman, chairperson of the Dutch Association for Technical Medicine [email protected], 06 27858466
- Claire Hallewas, press officer, Delft University of Technology, [email protected], 06 40953085