As the world is navigating towards a new digital era, many sectors face new challenges trying to adapt to ongoing changes. The Spanish healthcare sector is no exception as it aims to improve future healthcare and make it more affordable, more accessible, and more cost-efficient. The country is currently investing a lot of resources and looking for innovations to make the transition into a digitalised future smoother. That is why there is no better time for Finnish healthtech companies to turn to the Spanish health market and present their products and services to a global audience. One of the ways to achieve that is by joining events like the Health Revolution Congress in Barcelona that OuluHealth attended on 17 May, together with three Oulu-based health companies.
Spain aims to improve healthcare with digitalisation
Spain has 17 autonomous regions with different healthcare systems. According to Healthcare Europa portal*, healthcare in Spain is on the right track to answer the pressing healthcare challenges but needs modernisation. The country has been struggling with common issues well-known also in other countries, such as shortages in medical and nursing staff, rapidly aging population, and an increasing number of chronic diseases. Apart from the COVID-19 pandemic that accounted for a high number of deaths in 2020, ischaemic heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer remain the main causes of death. Overweight and obesity are also growing issues in Spain, which attracts more attention to the importance of dietary habits and physical activity. But how to guide patients into a healthier lifestyle, help them monitor their health, and maintain new routines in a more efficient way? Spain aims to address these challenges by increasing investment in the healthcare sector, promoting telehealth, and looking for digital health solutions from abroad. Many regional health systems have already taken meaningful steps into digitalisation, for example, by implementing e-prescriptions, and introducing electronic health records and mobile applications that enable individuals to access their health data and monitor their health.
According to Business Finland, Spain will use part of the 69.5 billion euro in grants and up to 70 billion euro in loans received from the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) to encourage digital advancements. New business opportunities emerge with such investments and Finnish health companies are ready to explore them. Finnish innovators might have just the right solutions for modernisation of Spanish healthcare and making the transition to the digital era smoother. Some of them were showcased at the Health Revolution Congress in Barcelona last week.
Barcelona – a hot spot for cool business
Many Oulu-based health and life science companies have developed cutting-edge innovations and they are ready to offer them to the Spanish market. To find new business opportunities and establish contacts, ProWellness Health Solutions, Screentec, and Polar joined the OuluHealth stand at the Health Revolution Congress in La Llotja de Mar. The event is the largest European Summit in digital health. This year, the congress gathered 60 speakers and about 1500 attendees from 40 countries including representatives of health companies, investors, health organisations, and public institutions. It offered numerous opportunities for networking at both onsite and virtual exhibition stands. The programme included a variety of panel discussions for those passionate about digital health and interested in learning from some of the most prominent voices in the industry. The congress proved to be an excellent platform to connect visionary leaders, innovators, and brilliant minds that shared their revolutionary ideas.
Spanish health enthusiasts had a unique opportunity to take a close look at the innovations developed in Oulu and talk to healthtech companies that showcased them. ProWellness Health Solutions described how their solution for the prevention, care, and management of chronic diseases enables early interventions and increases the quality of patient care. Polar attracted attention with the world’s best measurement technology and a wide range of sports wearables. The company is a recognised pioneer in heart rate monitoring and a leader in personal guidance for anyone who wants to understand their body better and succeed in their pursuit of a healthier life. Screentec, an expert in traditional and printed electronics contract manufacturing, focused on presenting their services and looking for potential business partners.
‘Screentec has already marked our presence in Spain as we currently have four customers in the Spanish medical electrode sector. Some of them are among our biggest medical electrode customers. We got a few new contacts during the Health Revolution Congress and we will stay tuned for more local events to see the full potential of the Spanish market’, said Mikko Paakkolanvaara, CTO at Screentec.
The companies interested in expansion to the Spanish market aren’t left alone. They can receive support from both Finnish and international organisations, such as BusinessOulu and Barcelona Health Hub. Barcelona Health Hub promotes innovation in digital health in Spain and its transfer to the sector, linking startups, health organizations, corporations, and investors. It serves companies as an international reference center in digital health, supports developing innovations, and reinforces the spirit of global collaboration. BusinessOulu helps companies gain market knowledge and establish relevant contacts. The organisation also enables participation in sector-specific events and matchmaking opportunities. According to BusinessOulu’s business development specialist, Heini Malm, there are quite a few Oulu-based companies already active in the Spanish market. Last year two B2B business delegation visits to Madrid and Barcelona were organised for ten companies.
‘Specim, iLOQ and Talenom have their subsidiaries based in Barcelona and Polar Electro has their distributor office there. The companies appreciate industry-specific information and connections, for example, to local authorities, and potential clients. Next, we are planning a delegation visit to the e-health cluster in Madrid combined with b2b matchmaking for the health companies from Oulu so stay tuned for more information,’ explained Malm.
According to experts, internationalisation and market expansion require a carefully planned go-to-market strategy and resources to turn this plan into reality. Some of the action points need solid knowledge of the given market but most of them are based on networking in its broad sense. Expanding our network of contacts was exactly what we expected from the Health Revolution Congress in Barcelona and our expectations were met.
The Health Revolution Congress showed that Spain is undergoing a digital revolution and is looking for partners to make it successful. A diverse range of perspectives presented by the industry experts inspired us to take action to become part of the real revolution in healthcare. With the innovations we showcased, we proved that Oulu-based innovators can stimulate digital advancements and help to modernise the Spanish healthcare system.
The World Business Webinar: Why Spain: https://youtu.be/LLVZ6UOWjEg
Spain b2b Support: (245) Spain, company b2b support, 13.-17.6.2022. – YouTube
Text and image: Joanna Seppänen, Health and Life Science, BusinessOulu