d·HEALTH Barcelona: 5 years training healthcare entrepreneurs and innovators

The Design Health Barcelona (d·HEALTH Barcelona) postgraduate fellowship, promoted by Biocat to develop future leaders and businesspeople in healthcare innovation, celebrated its fifth anniversary in 2018. The course, based on the prestigious Stanford University Biodesign Fellowship, focuses on needs-based innovation and guides multidisciplinary teams of fellows through a full innovation cycle, from identifying needs to designing and prototyping a feasible solution, as well as scouting for funding.

The fifth class of healthcare innovators graduated from d·HEALTH Barcelona in 2018, pitching their projects for the first time in public at the graduation ceremony held at the Movistar Center in Barcelona. The 2018 projects included a remote-detection system for decompensation episodes in patients with chronic heart disease, a platform for personalized monitoring of physical activity in patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and a device to prevent acute ear infections in small children.

At the graduation ceremony, the fellows received feedback from a panel of judges featuring Clara Campàs, partner and co-founder of Asabys PartnersPablo Cironi, principal at Caixa Capital Risc; and Marta Gaia Zanchi innovator in Health Tech and Digital Health at the Stanford Byers Center of Biodesign and founder of a new investment fund in Barcelona. Zanchi also offered a talk about the success factors to undertake in this sector. The event also featured Montserrat Vendrell, partner at Alta Life Sciences, who was CEO of Biocat when Moebio was created 5 years ago.

Extending the impact to the whole ecosystem

In order to continue extending this impact to other stakeholders in the ecosystem, Vall d’Hebron Barcelona Hospital Campus was announced as a new collaborating hospital in late 2017. The 2018 class of fellows were the first to do their immersion at this new hospital, specifically in the Cardiology Department. During the closing event for the fifth edition, a fifth new hospital collaborating with the d·HEALTH Barcelona program was also announced.

Plus, in 2018 Chiesi Spain became a partner in d·HEALTH Barcelona. One of the teams of fellows from the program did their clinical immersion in the Pulmonology Department at Hospital Clinic Barcelona, which allowed Chiesi to get a first-hand look at real unmet needs of both the patients and healthcare staff involved in this unit, as part of their commitment to innovation in respiratory health.

Each year, d·HEALTH Barcelona impacts more than 1,100 people in the Catalan healthcare ecosystem, including hospital and healthcare staff, patients, mentors, venture capitalists, research and technology centers and other key stakeholders. During their clinical immersion at Hospital Clinic, Vall d’Hebron Barcelona Hospital Campus and Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, the 2018 d·HEALTH Barcelona fellows identified more than 950 unmet clinical needs. In total, over the five years, the d·HEALTH Barcelona program has identified over 5,000 needs.

After participating in the program, the alumni have a real impact on the ecosystem, whether at start-ups created through the program or their positions at organizations in the sector. After the close of the fifth edition, the d·HEALTH Barcelona alumni community now includes 50 professionals: 95% currently hold positions in the healthcare sector and 30% are working on their own project.

International exchanges

Since 2016, d·HEALTH Barcelona has been part of the Innovation Fellowships program of EIT Health, the main European consortium in health, gives fellows opportunities for international mobility with other programs and the chance to validate their business model and needs in other European ecosystems. For example, the fellows from previous editions have done stays in Oxford, Galway, Stockholm and Rotterdam, among others. The fellows also become members of the extensive European EIT Alumni network after finishing the program.

In 2018, the teams of fellows from Hospital Clinic and Hospital Sant Joan de Déu went to Oxford (United Kingdom), through a collaboration with the Oxford Biodesign Fellowship, and the team from Vall d’Hebron Hospital went to Galway (Ireland), through a collaboration with the BioInnovate program.

d·HEALTH Barcelona 2018 fellows at the Graduation Day

Celebration of Moebio 5th anniversary