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Boosting the safety of healthcare professionals when operating and improving surgery technologies are just some of the ideas that emerged this year from the d·HEALTH Barcelona graduate program, which showcased the potential of innovation in healthcare within the context of a pandemic, namely SARS-CoV-2. This month, Biocat is launching the eighth edition of the program with figures that confirm its success: 95% of the fellows in all editions have found work in the healthcare sector, and 30% of the graduates run their own company. Enrolment for the new edition, which will begin in January 2021, is already open and includes a 10% discount for fellows who enroll before 1 September.

Design Health Barcelona (d·HEALTH Barcelona) is a postgraduate program to develop future entrepreneurs and healthcare innovators. The program, inspired on the biodesign methodology created by the Stanford University, invites participants to experience a full cycle of innovation, from identifying a business idea through clinical immersion in a cutting-edge hospital in Barcelona to the design and prototype of a feasible solution and the development of a business model to implement in the market. The new edition, which will begin in January 8, 2021, has been cut back from 9 to 6 months. It will be held at BCN Tech City and is being offered in conjunction with the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology, which will provide scholarships for its community. Furthermore, as a new development, efforts will be made to ensure that one of the projects developed focuses on a clinical area related to minorities or groups at risk of social exclusion.


Unique, cross-cutting focus: Innovation skills

During the program, the fellows learn about the ecosystem of the healthcare sector, the medical technology and life sciences market, and business management and development from the more than 50 international experts from Stanford, Silicon Valley and elsewhere. In parallel, the entire program stresses a series of cross-cutting innovation skills, which the fellows can apply to any aspect of their future lives. Critical thinking, creativity, design thinking, teamwork (the projects are conducted in groups that combine members with scientific, business, engineering and design backgrounds), rhetoric and strategic business vision are just several examples.

Success stories of startups that emerged from previous editions include I-Ophthalmology, which has created a technology for ophthalmologists to remotely connect with patients; Loop Dx, which has developed a system to quickly diagnose infection in patients who are suspected of having sepsis; and usMIMA, which emerged from the first edition and has raised more than €2 million for a medical device to fight chronic constipation.


Redirection in view of COVID-19

Because of COVID-19, this year’s edition was redirected to do the immersion virtually so the fellows could focus on identifying the needs associated with the pandemic. In-person classes will resume in July. Of the 600 needs detected, the groups are now working on 12 finalists, and the final project will be announced on 6 July, which they will develop during the second half of the program and present on Graduation Day, scheduled for 29 October in Barcelona.

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