By: Nia Davis
The Medical Device Innovation Consortium (MDIC) hosted its highly anticipated Annual Public Forum on September 19-20, 2023, in Washington, D.C.—a gathering that brought together regulators, payers, patient advocates, industry leaders, and other key stakeholders from across the health care ecosystem. Bustling with a record-breaking number of attendees, the event took place in the newly renovated Hotel Washington, providing a backdrop for the Forum that included dramatic views of the White House and the Washington Monument. The central theme of the conference was health equity, with attendees engaged in interactive sessions and panel discussions focused on addressing the challenges and opportunities of centering equitable patient access in our collaborative work to advance quality care.
The conference opened with a pre-recorded fireside chat with FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf and Dr. Jijo James, Chief Medical Officer at Johnson & Johnson, outgoing MDIC Board Chair. They discussed the challenges of using technology as a catalyst in the very human work of patient care, speaking in length about the overload of health misinformation, as well as the emerging role of real-world evidence (RWE). Dr. James then welcomed attendees by characterizing the strength of the MDIC family, sharing: “We are here today because we believe in the power of collaborative community.”
Featured speaker Purva Rawal, Chief Strategy Officer of the CMS Innovation Center at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, revealed the pivotal role of health equity within CMS’s current strategic vision. Dr. Rawal emphasized the critical importance of platforms like the Annual Public Forum, sharing “I think forums like this, especially one that has a focus on health equity, are really critical to facilitating common agendas and solutions to improve care for all patients, especially those that are underserved and continue to face some really striking disparities.”
The topic of cybersecurity also featured prominently at #APF2023, including an afternoon of breakout sessions that challenged attendees to consider cybersecurity within the larger context of the impact potential of technological advancements on patient care. Panelists and presenters delved into critical considerations including bad actor attacks, securing transparency and trust in cybersecurity software, the challenges of legacy devices, and the horizon applications of the “SBOM” (software bill of materials).
One of the highlights of the Forum was the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) Town Hall, a popular annual feature of the event, hosted by Center Director Dr. Jeff Shuren, joined by several key members of the CDRH team. In addition to sharing a broad range of answers to an audience member’s prompt ‘What keeps you up at night?’, the CDRH team painted a picture of a bright future for the Center’s work under their new organizational structure and pointed to a focus on supporting the integration of RWE into submissions in the upcoming year.
#APF2023 attendees also enjoyed a presentation from Pulitzer Prize winning science writer and author Ed Yong, underscoring the roles of community service and transparency in responding to public health emergencies. Yong sat with Andy Fish, MDIC President and CEO, in a fireside chat that followed, where he revealed what drives his work are the central questions: How can I be of service? How can I provide something useful for the community?
Fish connected the sentiment back to MDIC’s collective work, stating: “Our organization is all about creating things that are useful.”
Overall, the conference not only featured thought-provoking sessions and informative presentations but also provided a relished opportunity for MDIC’s broad community of stakeholders to come together and spend intentional time strengthening relationships and making the connections that will drive the work forward. Tuesday evening’s reception took place at the VUE Rooftop, an iconic D.C. venue with panoramic views showcasing landmarks like the White House, Washington Monument, and the Capitol.
The connections made, insights gained, and knowledge shared at the 2023 Annual Public Forum will continue to empower our collaborative work and align our community in the united pursuit of higher quality medical technology driving elevated care for all patients.
The 2024 Annual Public Forum is set to take place September 10-11, 2024—we hope to see you there!