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The need to forge alliances and seek out multiple interlocutors when searching for business opportunities were the two ideas at the heart of the debate last Thursday at the Vall d’Hebron Research Institute.

The panel discussion ‘New business opportunities in hospitals’, moderated by Biocat Head of Entrepreneurship and Business Growth Carlos Lurigados, set out to analyze the current situation in hospitals in terms of business opportunities and to debate where the sector is heading, the opportunities for the future, what can be improved and what should be changed.

The panel was made up of experts from different sectors that can find business opportunities in hospitals, showing that it isn't exclusively the domain of the life sciences sector. The participants were Dr. Gonzalo León, Entrepreneurship director at the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM); Jaume Raventós, Telefònica e-Health director; Juan José Rubio, head of projects at Mondragón Health; and Artur Palet, director of Business Development at Roche Diagnostics.

Dr. Gonzalo León started off affirming the need for teamwork to put knowledge into practice and for it to have a tangible result. “We’re currently in a process in which it is increasingly influential to know how to build a good ecosystem,” he said. In this regard, he posed two problems we have today: first of all, the need to work together, and, secondly, the need to cover the whole value chain, “If we don’t reach the end of the process, we’ve done nothing.” León also spoke of the great difference a positive advance has made in recent years in hospitals: the appearance of multiple interlocutors.

Jaume Raventós also reflected on the value chain, saying that the end of the chain continues to be a problem. “We’re able to develop larger and larger projects because we get more leverage among professionals, we can generate new ways to use mobile technology and know that these have an ever-increasing impact on the sector, however we have trouble putting it in the hands of the users,” he explained. Likewise, Jaume Raventós defended the need to forge alliances to carry out these projects: “We need ever more alliances not only between industry and hospitals but also among industry players themselves.”

For his part, Artur Palet highlighted the increase in agreements and alliances and growing awareness of the need for multidisciplinary teamwork: “In recent years, we’ve seen research institutes linked to hospitals appear, with both clinical physicians and researchers participating and transferring day-to-day problems from clinical practice to basic and later translational research.” Using Roche as an example, Palet explained that the company is fully aware of the importance of this sort of transversal collaboration and that this has been one of the key focal points for Roche in forging alliances.

During the second part of the session, Carlos Lurigados focused the debate on the future of the sector, the significant changes that need to come about and the barriers that must be broken.

Information as a business opportunity for health systems; the need to have a clear, convincing strategy for ICT-related topics that allows for the development of good tactics; and the need to incorporate digital platforms into Spanish hospitals were the noteworthy future changes the experts discussed during the debate.

Finally, compiling all the conclusions from the debate, Carlos Lurigados closed the discussion with a reflection on implementing new technology and the business opportunities available in this field: “Anything that provides a solution that helps implement new technology in hospitals, with patients, etc. is solving a problem facing both hospitals and companies. So, there are many business opportunities down this path.”

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