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On Tuesday 21 July, Barcelona hosted a workshop called Innovating in Medtech, organized by Biocat with collaboration from the European BILAT USA 2.0 project.  The event focused on a series of proposals and ideas on innovation in medical technology, as well as the regulatory differences between Europe and the United States, which is key for launching medtech products on either market. Wearables, the combination of big data, software and technology, and how that will change the doctor-patient relationship were some of the topics discussed at the workshop.

According to Robert Harju-Jeanty, founder of Medical Lead, the heath arena has experienced three great revolutions: hygiene, with Pasteur; chemistry, with Fleming’s discovery of penicillin; and finally, computers, starting with Gordon Moore. Therefore, medtech innovation is both a great challenge and a great opportunity in the health arena. “Innovation will grow as a result of convergence between science and technology,” said Harju-Jeanty, emphasizing that this is exactly what is happening in the training program called d·HEALTH Barcelona, an initiative of Moebio (Biocat).

"Medical technology is one of the fields with the most innovation,” said Biocat Head of Business Development Jordi Fàbrega. "It is a place for innovation in terms of diagnosing diseases and improving clinical practice, and can have a huge impact on making the flow of information between doctors and patients more efficient,” he explained.

A cranial clamp, a camera for strabismus, software to combat neuralgic pain… These are just some of the medtech innovation success stories that were presented at the workshop and a selection of the wide range of possibilities available in this area. Director of NEOS Surgery Lluís Chico presented Cranial Loop and encouraged participants to delve into the world of medical technology. “Innovation means imagining, working, believing, failing, carrying on… and finally being successful,” explained Chico. 

Joan Prat, head of Ophthalmology at Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, presented Gazelab, a new system to more accurately measure strabismus that has led to the creation of a spin-off (BCN Innova). Better Care was also presented, with Lluis Blanch –researcher and head of innovation at the Parc Taulí Foundation- explaining that they will soon be able to announce new distribution agreements. Eloy Opisso, a researcher at Institut Guttmann, spoke about the innovative new software NeuroPainTeletreatment® to treat neuralgic pain. 

Participants also explained success stories from the United States. President of Edison Nation Medical Bobby Grajewski spoke about the importance of open innovation and how this led them to develop GuardianOR and Go Gown. Finally, a fellow from the Stanford Biodesign Program (which inspired d·HEALTH Barcelona) presented the medtech innovation that she and other fellows from the program are launching.

However innovation can also come in the business model, as explained by Jorge Juan Fernández, academic director of Moebio and head of e-Health at Hospital Sant Joan de Déu. "Innovation in the business model lies not only in innovating in the product but also in improving knowledge and inventing something new,” Fernández highlighted. Previous trends looked towards growing in size, but now it is SMEs that are working on medical innovation. “More and more, large companies are looking to the small ones and end up acquiring them because medtech companies don’t have much of a place on the stock market,” explained Fernández.

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