Four professionals in the BioRegion of Catalonia are among the 50 most influential leaders in Europe in the healthcare technology arena, according to HIMSS Europe. This international organization for the advancement of digitalization in healthcare, which organizes the event Health2.0, has published its ranking of the 50 Top Healthcare IT Leaders in Europe, which includes Manuel Armayones (UOC), Victor Bautista (SocialDiabetes), Inma Grau (Fundació iSYS and Hospital Clinic) and Jordi Serrano (UniversalDoctor).
Four professionals in the BioRegion of Catalonia are among the 50 most influential leaders in Europe in the healthcare technology arena, according to HIMSS Europe. This international organization for the advancement of digitalization in healthcare, which organizes the event Health2.0, has published its ranking of the 50 Top Healthcare IT Leaders in Europe, which includes Manuel Armayones, Business Development director at UOC eHealth Center, Catalonia Open University (UOC); Victor Bautista, founder of SocialDiabetes; Inma Grau, founder and director of Fundació iSYS, head of the mHealth Observatory at Hospital Clinic Barcelona and collaborating researcher with IDIBAPS; and Jordi Serrano, founder and CEO of UniversalDoctor.
Making this list means being part of the “Future50”, a community that brings together the 50 top experts and consultants to work together to improve, innovate and adapt healthcare systems to the challenges of today and tomorrow in terms of new technology.
UniversalDoctor combines development of mobile solutions for communication and medical translation with new mobile apps developed and/or produced in conjunction with international organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO, with the WHO ZIKA App and the International Organization for Migration (OIM) with MigApp.
“This combination has made us an innovative, socially motivated company that many public and private institutions turn to for developing digital health projects,” highlights Jordi Serrano, founder and CEO of UniversalDoctor. The company is currently working on a new platform called Chatbots4GlobalHealth.org that provides chatbots in topics tied to global health issues (tuberculosis, malaria, maternal health, etc.). “Plus, our tools are evolving and we will soon be launching a very interesting tool on health and travel, which will evolve towards Medicine on the Move, Everywhere at any time,” reveals Serrano.
For Serrano, “It is an honor to be on a ranking of people who can affect people’s health.” The entrepreneur believes that “The level of digital health in Catalonia is very high and this means it is easy to add value to this group of professionals who are excited about transforming people’s health through digital health.”
SocialDiabetes aims to let diabetics control their disease, lead a normal life and prevent complications, with the safety of being a medical device with CE marking. The innovation lies in adjusting insulin to meet each patient’s specific needs and real habits, not the theoretical habits, and to prevent nighttime drops in blood ugar by learning the patient’s history.
The HIMSS ranking recognizes the work of Victor Bautista, co-founder of SocialDiabetes, who created the company after being diagnosed with type-1 diabetes in 2008. “We’re patients working for patients,” Bautista sums up on the company’s website.
“When I was first diagnosed with the disease, it was difficult,” Bautista remembers. “I didn’t understand why I had to use a pen and paper to track my diabetes in the 21st century, inputting values manually, always eating the same thing to minimize the risks, and making critical decisions without help or knowledge. Smart phones were becoming universal and I wondered whether it wouldn’t be easier to manage these day-to-day issues with a bit of technology.
He started programming an app for his own use, to be more self-sufficient and safely break out of the routine of always eating the same thing.This lead to an app that now gets thousands of downloads each month and has collaboration deals with large hospitals and pharmaceutical companies.
Manuel Armayones heads up the eHealth Center at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) and studies how new technology can help people psychologically. “Although e-health focuses mainly on technology, we can’t forget that emotional and psychological aspects play a huge role in healthcare,” he explains.
Armayones’ research focuses on how psychology can promote digital literacy in health and change behaviors related to apps and other digital health solutions, which can range from apps to robots. Armayones and his team are developing the Darca model, which assess the power of persuasion of online interventions and gives recommendations based on knowledge obtained from UOC research.
Inma Grau, with a PhD in Information Society and Knowledge from the UOC, degree in telecommunications engineering and in information sciences, is the founder and director of Fundació iSYS (internet, health and society), a non-profit organization that is working to establish best practices in digital health communications. She is also in charge of the mHealth Clinic Observatory project at Hospital Clinic, and a member of the Patient Information and Therapeutic Education Working Group (GTIET), which is one of the projects from the Clinic Strategic Plan 2016-2020 in the patient arena. In 2006, she created and promoted forumclínic, an interactive patient platform to boost self-sufficiency in health with new ICT, which was a pioneer in its area.
“There is a great digital health ecosystem in Catalonia, and being recognized by an organization as prestigious as Himss proves it,” Grau highlights.