The #BHHSummit on October 26th was a huge success – a record number of 1000+ visitors enjoyed a full day of great panels, amazing startup pitches and lots of networking. Attendees, sponsors and speakers came together both on-site as online to find out how to solve real challenges in healthcare. More than 50 speakers, 43 startups, and many insurance and pharma companies came together in this leading event in digital health, powered by BBVA, Globant, Adeslas and Mapfre.
The event was kicked off by the Deputy Mayor Jaume Collboni, and the General Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship of the Generalitat de Catalunya, Lluís Juncà, together with BHH President Cristian Pascual. Collboni stressed that, in just four years, BHH “has become a key player in Barcelona’s ecosystem, giving dynamism and boosting the digital health sector and entrepreneurship.” Juncà highlighted the importance of life sciences companies, which currently number 1,300 in Catalonia and represent 9% of the gross domestic product, and stressed the importance of innovation linked to sustainability to lead the sector’s progress.
More investment to make start-ups’ projects a reality in order to accelerate technology transfer in the digital health sector and achieve a more sustainable and efficient healthcare system was one of the most frequently heard claims during the conference. Pascual warned that “in 10 years, the workforce of healthcare professionals will be reduced by 50% and we must face this challenge with the implementation of digital health technology for the benefit of people and the sustainability of the system.”
Solving Real Challenges in Healthcare
During the #BHHSummit, there were five different international panel that aimed to explore the main theme of the day: how to solve real challenges in healthcare.
At the panel about Investment Challenges in Digital Health, the head of BBVA Spark in Spain, Verónica Ruiz, explained that BBVA Spark participates in projects that have already secured funding from investors specializing in digital health, thus helping to ensure their success.
The pharmaceutical industry has introduced important innovations in digital health with the help of startups in a multitude of projects. The panel Pharma is Going Digital analysed success stories that have helped the industry evolve into a new era where access to health data is a necessity. Sara Pedraz, Innovation Lead GSK, confirmed the change that has occurred in that pharmaceutical companies that “until now were only focused on treating sick people, are now focused on providing health-related experiences.” On the other hand, Lucas Najún Dubos, Healthcare & Life Sciences Global Director at Globant, comments that the pharmaceutical industry “is becoming more agile and faster, it is changing the business model and also that of the companies.”
With the advent of new technologies, new challenges also arise in the pharmaceutical industry. The Conquering Challenges in Pharma panel discussed how startups contribute to overcoming these challenges. In the case of Grifols, its senior IT Vice-president, Xavier Sueiras, explained that his company wants to add value and improve the experience of its patients, customers, donors and employees and “to do so we are working on different digital solutions, based on virtual reality, robotics, advanced analytics and artificial intelligence.” One of the success stories is Mediktor, which provides insurers and medical entities with a tool capable of pre-diagnosing patients and relieving pressure on primary care. Celia Rosalen, Europe Bussiness Development Director at Mediktor, said its mission “is to shorten the time it takes for a patient to get to a doctor or treatment.”
While some public or private entities are starting to approach digital health, health insurance companies have been the fastest to implement these solutions, establishing agreements with startups to offer their customers better medical care. In the panel Bringing Value to the Health Insurance Industry, success stories of projects developed by startups applied in the insurance sector were presented.
One example is Adeslas, which has developed new ways of communicating with its customers. Elena Vidal, Head of health services and care quality – Adeslas, stressed that this change responds to “a need that arose from users during COVID-19 and companies have had to offer them a solution.” The importance of adapting to the consumer is vital for the growth of companies. “My 80-year-old mother knows how to use WhatsApp, if she can’t adapt to the technology we offer her, it’s our fault,” said Pedro Díaz, CEO of Savia-Mapfre.
The final panel, Empowered Hospitals, discussed how technology can help overcome the challenges of 21st century healthcare globally. Medical and hospital systems are saturated and suffer from a lack of professionals in their workforces. There are some technological solutions that show us that better and more sustainable healthcare can be achieved.
An advanced case is that of the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau. The implementation of technology in their cardiovascular disease unit has allowed them to obtain a better detection of serious cases and, therefore, has increased the survival rate of the patients they treat. The director of the Digital Health Unit at this Barcelona hospital, Mar Gomis, also stressed that the new tools “empower patients, allowing them to make more and better decisions.”
Startup pitches & networking
The #BHHSummit also gave the floor to many startups to pitch their companies in the famous Show & Tell sessions. It was a great opportunity to explore new technologies, discover new solutions and to find new possible collaborations. During the whole day, many 1-to-1 meetings were happening all around the event, while you could visit more than 30 different companies at the very well-attended exhibitors hall.
The #BHHAwards recognize actors in the health sector working to accelerate the adoption of innovation in the healthcare industry — so that the most relevant breakthroughs and disruptive technologies actually reach and make an impact in people’s life. This year, the focus was on solutions or initiatives that help to solve the challenges that the digital health sector is facing. More than 15.000 votes were cast and during the #BHHSummit the winners of each category were announced.
In the category of Most Innovative Startup, Accexible won this prestigious award. Accexible identifies vocal biomarkers for disease detection and monitoring. The award for the Most Influencial Investor in Digital Health went to Asabys, an investment firm based in Barcelona, investing in healthcare and life-sciences innovation. Top Doctors won in the category Most Disruptive Scaleup. Sanitas was the winner of the award for the Most Disruptive Approach in Insurance, given its advances in the field, while Rat Gasol won the award for the Most Influencial Person in Digital Health. Congratulations to all!
At the closing ceremony, Cristian Pascual, president of BHH, announced the birth of the Health Revolution Congress, the first global forum on digital health to be held on 17 and 18 May 2023 at the Llotja de Mar, a historic venue in the city of Barcelona. “We want to make this international event the “Mobile World Congress” of digital health,” he concluded. Barcelona Health Hub can’t wait to see you there too – so stay tuned!
More photos of the event HERE – let’s see if you can spot youself!
Did you miss the #BHHSummit? No worries, you can watch the ful content HERE.