When we tried to figure out how the future will be in the field of medicine, we tend to think in revolutionary drugs or in advanced medical and diagnostic devices. However, it is perhaps in the field of information and communication technologies where we will see major breakthrough innovations and where the greatest opportunities will emerge.

THE DIFFICULTIES OF BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR IN MEDICINE

However, it should be noted that being an entrepreneur in this area is much more complicated than in other sectors. On one hand, designing a new product requires prior knowledge of the user. In the health care sector it is necessary to understand the diversity of end users that characterize it, such as physicians, nurses, managers, caregivers or patients. It should be taken into consideration that their needs and behaviors differ markedly from each other.

On the other hand, despite being able to implement an innovative technological solution in a department or in a health center, it is necessary to cope with the barrier posed by the lack of standards and interoperability between the different coexisting systems. And all this in a highly regulated environment (safety, data protection, informed consent,…) where in addition it is required that any proposed solution should be accompanied by enough clinical evidence, which of course requires to devote additional resources.

In the health sector often different people play the roles of decision-maker, payer and end user. In a system with so many stakeholders, entrepreneurs need to understand how each one of them will interact with the proposed solution and what benefit each of them will get from it. If you fail to convince the payer to fund your solution and fail to motivate the physician to use it, the benefit will never reach the patient.

D-HEALTH BARCELONA

In order to help entrepreneurs to overcome all these obstacles and increase their chances of success, specific acceleration initiatives are being created, such as Design Health Barcelona (d-HEALTH Barcelona), a training program (inspired by a Stanford program and promoted by BioCat, the catalan biocluster) which seeks to promote innovation through the immersion of the participants in a hospital setting in order to facilitate the detection of real needs, prior to the design of a solution and the development of a prototype.

The participants are grouped into teams in such a way that each team is made up of people with different profiles: physicians or researchers, engineers, designers, and managers, so that their contributions can be complementary and their collaboration can be much more fruitful.

At the end of the program all the participants will have the opportunity to present their proposals to a group of national and international investors specialized in the health care sector, such as venture capital firms, pharmaceutical and medical device companies or business angels interested in investing in this sector. As a result of this process, most likely some of the participants might decide to start their own business, and in any case, it is hoped that the experience and knowledge gained through the program will be very useful in their future professional career.

AND NOW A COUPLE OF QUESTIONS…

As an invitation to the debate we would like to challenge the readers with a couple of  questions: What challenges may pose a team of people with such different profiles? Could be the doctor the person who naturally ends up leading the team for being the person in the group who feels most comfortable in the hospital setting?