Technical physicians will be included in the Dutch (Individual Healthcare Professionals Act (“BIG 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 with official authorisation to independently carry out medical procedures. Furthermore, the Dutch Healthcare Authority (NZa) announced last week that as of 2020, that Technical physicians group will be authorised to initiate so called “Diagnosis and Treatment Combination” pathway care programmes (dbc-zorgtrajecten) and register consultations.
Both the Dutch Association for Technical Medicine (NVvTG) and both study programmes (at the University of Twente and the joint program at Leiden University Medical Centre, Delft University of Technology and Erasmus MC Rotterdam), acknowledge the importance of these critical administrative decisions. It confirms the independent and unique role of technical medical specialists in healthcare. It also prepares healthcare practises and organisations in the Netherlands, to adopt technical innovation to the benefit of the patient.
Technical physicians are health care professionals who combine knowledge and skills of the engineering and clinical domain. They apply and innovate medical technology to achieve safe diagnosis and treatment of individual patients. This includes 3D imaging for more accurate surgery, minimally invasive treatment of tumours, or personalisation of respiratory support in intensive care.
Technical physicians are already 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 are a unique addition to the conventional healthcare professionals like physicians and other disciplines. Their independent responsibility is now warranted the recent update of the care professional healthcare legislation.