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Healthcare innovation is now closer than ever to reaching patients in Catalonia. Today, Biocat presented its Catalan Health System innovation Access Program (PASS), a tool that will help streamline and facilitate access to the Catalan Healthcare System for innovation and technology by identifying, prioritizing and guiding innovation with the highest value and priority for the system. Biocat is leading this groundbreaking project in Catalonia, with collaboration from AQuAS and the Catalan Health Service (CatSalut).

"One of the main challenges of the ecosystem is the transfer of innovative technologies developed by startups, scaleups, and spinoffs to the public. The PASS is an ambitious program that will allow companies to be more efficient and better prepared to integrate into the System. Perhaps we may not be able to include all the innovation we generate, but we must be able to include the innovation that the System needs," has explained Robert Fabregat during the presentation.

The program, open to the whole innovation community in Catalonia, mainly features three services: the tool and program browser, the innovation platform and the guidance unit.

  1. The tool and program navigator is a catalog of the resources, programs and opportunities available to the innovation community, where they can find initiatives, incubation and acceleration programs in the Catalan ecosystem, tools for validating projects’ value propositions, support in meeting regulatory requirements, and much more. This service is public and open to all, available on the Biocat website.
  2. The innovation platform is a well organized directory of all the innovation prospects to enter the System, those that are most ready for assessment, so entities in the Catalan Healthcare System can find projects they are interested in. The tool will give innovations a self assessment form validated by AQuAS and the results will be available to all stakeholders in the System. The Platform also facilitates contact between the various stakeholders in the Catalan Healthcare System and the solution providers.

    The tool is only for use by products and services developed in the BioRegion of Catalonia that meet the following criteria:

    1. Medtech and digital health: innovation with TRL 4, meaning proof of viability shown in models with feedback from users and key stakeholders.
    2. Biotech/Pharma: innovations with TRL 6, meaning they are in the early stages - regulated production of prototypes collecting clinical and economic data.
  3. Support unit: a guidance service led by a Biocat team, in collaboration with AQuAS and CatSalut, that provides personalized guidance for innovations on the Platform that have been prioritized by the System. CatSalut has made a first proposal of these needs, which are presented below: improvement of predictability, addressing obesity and associated chronic diseases, frailty, clinical complexity, polypharmacy and home care, social and health integration, diagnosis and treatment in the field of neuroscience, mental health, and advanced therapies.

    Plus, these companies can take advantage of exclusive services, like priority access to AQuAS assessments and certain programs in the ecosystem.

During the presentation of the PASS, Cristina Casanovas-Guitart, head of the Projects and Healthcare Quality Division of the Catalan Health Service (CatSalut), and Sandra García, director of the Agency for Health Quality and Evaluation of Catalonia, have explained what they have been working on in recent months. "We are working on the innovation process within SISCAT, identifying the needs of the System where healthcare innovation can add value. We will organize this innovation to create a management model that facilitates the adoption of innovations, with a framework for decision making", Cristina Casanovas-Guitart has advanced.

On her part, Sandra García has clarified that "we must emphasize the importance of disruptive innovation rather than incremental, as well as moving towards a collaboration system to be more efficient. There is not a single unique entry point; what is needed is to organize these entry points." With this in mind, AQuAS has presented X-CAT, a model of collaborative evaluation cells that will facilitate decision-making with the aim of having multiple circuits.

Four companies from the ecosystem with experience with other system access models have been chosen to test the guidance unit. They are ABLE Human Motion, Doctomatic, Goodgut and Rob Surgical, whose representatives also took part in the event in a panel discussion moderated by Chief Health Innovation Strategist for the Catalan Ministry of Health Ramon Maspons.

More than 150 expert professionals from the sector were at the program presentation, which took place at the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site during the Health Revolution Congress hosted by the Barcelona Health Hub on May 16. In addition to the presentation of PASS Catalonia and the experiences of the four companies selected, the event also included a panel discussion to share the validation and assessment initiatives of Hospital Clinic Barcelona, Germans Trias i Pujol University Hospital and Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau.

The Catalan Health System innovation Access Program (PASS) responds to a historic challenge at a time when Catalonia has an ecosystem that is very rich in innovations, with a much greater capacity for creating innovative startups and spinoffs, and with record local and international investment. However, regarding adoption of this innovation, the mechanisms and connections needed to explore, filter, identify, interact and incorporate these innovations into the system haven’t been sufficiently defined or developed. At the same time, there are more and more new mechanisms and pathways to get innovation into healthcare systems popping up around the world, for example in Germany, France, England and Belgium.

To resolve this issue, in 2022, the Catalan Ministry of Health charged Biocat with coordinating a subcommittee of experts to draft an action plan to streamline innovation adoption in the healthcare system, from which the Catalan Healthcare System innovation Access Program (PASS) was born.

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