A powerful voice for the industry
From Bauerfeind Life Magazin
Oda Hagemeier is well aware of the needs in the healthcare market. As the managing director of the European Manufacturers Federation for Compression Therapy and Orthopaedic Devices (eurocom), which celebrates its silver anniversary this year, she looks back and forward in this interview.
life: eurocom was established on June 29, 1998. What was the deciding argument for founding the federation at that time?
Oda Hagemeier: The healthcare reform of the 1990s represented the Sword of Damocles for the medical aid industry. Remuneration by statutory health insurance funds threatened to collapse. So it seemed a logical as well as an urgent step to establish an effective interest group to avert this risk – via targeted education and political work. Our members felt that their specific issues were ignored in more diverse associations. Initially created as a federation for manufacturers of medical compression stockings, the association also added manufacturers of orthopedic aids in 2003. These days, eurocom includes nearly all companies that are active on the German market, 39 to be precise. By the way: one of the founding fathers was our long-term chair Prof. Hans B. Bauerfeind. In 2018, he passed the baton to Jürgen Gold, Managing Director of Julius Zorn GmbH, effecting a generational change.
“Right from the start, I was positively surprisedOda Hagemeier
to see the commitment of our members in eurocom.”
The generational change took place in eurocom’s executive board and management. In 2019, you took over from Dr. Ernst Pohlen. Was this associated with a strategic change?
Oda Hagemeier: Initially, the plan was to move offices from Düren to Berlin. This was clearly connected with the mission to extend political activities. Both patients and professional societies attest that medical aids offer great value, which means policymakers and insurance funds, which are granted a high degree of autonomy in Germany, are responsible for creating conditions that allow innovations to reach patients quickly. That is why we advocate realistic obligations to provide evidence for the medical effectiveness, for example, as a basis for being listed in the German Directory of Medical Aids. There is no shortage of new topics – whether in Berlin or Brussels. Essential driving forces include the increase in digitalization in the healthcare sector and the EU’s Medical Device Regulation, which sometimes push our mainly mid-sized member companies to their limits. Helping our members to help themselves in a committee, which we formed especially to deal with regulatory requirements, has proven effective. Speaking of Europe: in addition to Austria and Italy, we also founded a national organization in the Netherlands in 2022. Our focus is education about medical compression therapy.
Rejuvenation, change, growth. Which ongoing characteristic summarizes eurocom for you in particular?
Oda Hagemeier: The drive of our committee work. Right from the start, I was positively surprised to see the commitment with which our members participated in eurocom, all working together to achieve joint goals. This hands-on mentality is of utmost importance – and it should be celebrated. On November 8, 2023, on the occasion of our anniversary, we will show and discuss with policymakers from Berlin what medical aids can achieve and what needs to be done based on these insights.