EIT Health: “We need to professionalize innovation in health”

Health News

There are few professionals with such an international vision of innovation as Cristina Bescós. This PhD in Telecommunications has worked for public research institutions, in space innovation (European Space Agency), and the private sector (Hewlett Packard, Telefónica I + D, Philips) in several of the leading countries of the Old Continent. And, for just over a year, it has put that experience at the service of the Spanish chapter of EIT Health, the European initiative for public-private collaboration to promote disruptive ideas in the field of health. Because of this background, her overview of this dynamic sector in our country is so complete.

“I think we have good building blocks, but that alone is not enough. We are a country with moderate innovation, we lack investment, on all sides. We also need more public-private collaboration, which in our country seems to be a taboo subject, and a real commitment to innovation in health “, explains Bescós to INNOVADORES. “We have a great health system and, in addition, the fact that management is at the regional level allows us to do great things much faster than in other countries with more centralized systems. In addition, the level of our researchers is very good, but we lack professionalize this innovation, transfer it to the business world.There is an education component there:the scientific career is highly valued, but the innovative one not so much. And that makes many interpret this transfer of knowledge from the Academy as a step backward, a kind of loss of intellectual status ” .

Thus we draw a picture of innovation in health as a golden opportunity but weighed down by many obstacles that, precisely, try to combat initiatives such as EIT Health. This European program has marked the digital transformation in fields such as remote care, the reinvention of patient care channels, prevention, health in the workplace or aging as top priorities to work for the innovative ecosystem.

“In the end, it is about understanding health as something far beyond what the health system is. If we lose health we lose many more things, such as socialization or competitiveness. We have seen it with the pandemic. That is why we have to understand it in a broader way and closer to the citizen, leaving aside the paternalism of the health system and betting more on co-responsibility. And that is where telemedicine systems come into play, to have that information and control on the mobile itself “, Bescós highlights, who highlights that many of these technologies have already been mature for many years, but that definitive impulse for real adoption has been lacking.

EIT Health, which has both acceleration programs for startups and education and innovation management programs, already has 150 partners and an expansion plan that this year will open a new region in Galicia, to add to those of Catalonia, Madrid , Valencia, Euskadi or Andalusia. To show its impact on the entrepreneurial ecosystem, the investment that EIT dedicates to Spanish startups is multiplied by ten thanks to the multiplier effect of that public-private collaboration that Cristina Bescós demands so much, until it exceeds 47 million euros raised.

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