DANA POINT, California – Delivering her annual "AdvaMed priorities" speech on the opening day of this year's annual meeting of the Advanced Medical Technologies Association (AdvaMed; Washington), association president Pamela Bailey cited three in particular:

Insisting that "all processes of government regulation" accelerate their rate of change in order to keep up with the innovations being developed by the medical technology industry.

Continuing to "communicate the value of innovation in healthcare."

Helping to broaden the access to healthcare in China, where only 3% of Gross Domestic Product is spent on it (vs. 14% in the U.S.), as well as sharing with decision-makers in China "what we have learned in the debate over healthcare in the U.S."

She led off her remarks by noting that "something new in 2005 is the nature of the solution: the vision of a consumer-driven healthcare system" in the U.S. "That we have alignment from the president and both houses of congress is news," Bailey said.

That's a huge change, said the former mid-70s White House health policy advisor who noted that the question back then "wasn't whether we would have a national healthcare system, but what kind of a system."

Today, Bailey said, "a national healthcare system isn't considered a rational solution."

What's also news today, she added, is that both the president and congressional leaders "speak – and speak passionately – on the subject of healthcare."

The key words to be used by AdvaMed in discussing healthcare are value, quality and innovation. "They finally are being embraced broadly," Bailey told AdvaMed members.

One continuing key initiative for the association, she said, will be to "engage CMS's [Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] Mark McClellan on the need for timely decisions ... [E]nsuring patient access to new, innovative technologies must be a core element."

— Jim Stommen, Executive Editor