Nowadays, change is inevitable and much of it appears to occur on its own. But in certain industries, there are bright minds that are responsible for leading this innovation and transformation.
Today, we chat to Luca Caruso and Armando Ruiz, co-founders of Future Health Club, a space where professionals in the healthcare sector can share their experiences and knowledge about future health trends.
Please note, as the podcast is in Spanish, we’ve added a transcript below in English for convenience!
How did the idea of Future Health Club come about?
Luca: Armando and I met 9 years ago during our European masters in leadership and management of science and innovation.
From there, our experience in the sector and collaboration as entrepreneurs led us to found the club.
Honestly, we were pissed off! [laughs] We were annoyed to see how all the people we’d met, with great talent and passion for their work, did not make the most of their potential. So, we decided to build a system that allows us to potentiate and develop our abilities to have a real impact on our work, and that has an impact on everyone’s health.
Why in Barcelona?
Armando: For several reasons, Barcelona is one of the cities with the greatest talent attraction in Europe. We have a hub of technology and of science and health. It is a privileged environment to launch our idea. And the truth is that we are very happy.
We think that in Spain there is a gap between:
- Knowledge and its application in everyday life.
- The real interpersonal connections of professionals and their results.
- New actors and existing processes: technology and the active role of patients and startups for change.
What are the cities where more progress is being made in this area?
The biggest hubs of innovation and digital transformation in health would be in Holland (Amsterdam), Germany (Berlin) and the UK (London).
They have some things that we are yet to learn.
Above all, an ecosystem that enhances public-private partnerships more effectively, and a recognition of the talent and effort that we have a hard time implementing here.
Also, more powerful investment networks, and a much lower risk aversion.
But from my own experience, I can tell you that we have much more creativity and work capacity with immense potential to be the leaders in innovation and health.
What is the situation with healthcare companies around digital innovation?
Armando: Startups are the ones leading the digital innovation in health. They are led to develop products or services quickly, implementing the best technology at low costs and offering a very clear value proposition. And innovation is the perfect path for them.
The big companies are just starting to work in this field. And they still don’t know very well what path they should take. Health – technology – innovation is a new combination for them.
I think that we are facing a change of paradigm, in many ways. Not only with digitalisation.
We have changes in patient access to information, thanks to simple and cheap (if not free) data and technologies. Approaches to chronic illness and lifestyle management, such as cities, in relation to the health of their citizens.
And the entry of technology into healthcare. There is fear of professionals around their shifting roles within the system.
But it is already a reality. Look at AI, 3D technology, big data, and many other technologies that are entering hospitals, for example.
What factors do you think are crucial to face digitalisation in this sector?
Luca: all experts agree that the main factor is a change of mindset.
As mentioned before, it’s not just about technology. Behind that there are people. And we need new leadership styles.
This point may seem unimportant, but it is the one that will lead a company to adapt and do so in its business model.
I could even tell you that technology is not a problem. There are many solutions available, even with affordable implementation costs. But you must know what you want, in order to decide what to do. And this must involve the whole organisation.
How are technological advances being perceived by patients?
Armando: This is actually a very important issue for us.
We are more than 3,000 professionals who in one way or another are already participating in the club.
And we are joined by a unique passion, which is to believe and develop our potential to do our job better. And that always has a direct impact on people (in patients)
Patients are disconnected.
They don’t perceive technology as something that really allows them to change their lives. We obviously do not talk about new surgical robots, or ai systems that allow diagnosing or even treating a problem more efficiently.
I am talking about mobile apps or medical devices that always complete their work.
We must learn to design products that really solve a real problem in patients’ homes. And make it simple (or even fun).
But that’s what we are in, and surely, we will soon have new technologies adapted to the great challenges of the future of health.
What factors influence the success of companies?
Luca: When we talk about success in health, we don’t just talk about results. In this new ecosystem, technology has arrived to transform everything. And in our opinion, companies (large or small) should focus on 4 points:
Key factors in the future of health, and that have a direct impact on companies are:
Real solutions to real problems
That is, develop solutions that add value to users (patients or professionals). And have scientific and medical evidence in their results.
Education and training
Many professionals have excellent knowledge in their training core, and very specialised. But this is no longer sufficient. We must have a transversal vision that includes health, technology, business, sustainability and leadership.
No one person should be looking at solving a problem. All companies must have a collaborative vision. With multidisciplinary teams, but also with other companies. And this is where the startups have a lot to say.
Networking as we know is useless. We must generate trust and real connections among us, to grow and have greater impact on our work.
In my opinion, the values of a company have never been so important.
When we talk about health, we talk about what matters most to us all. And only companies that really focus their business on people and do so with transparency will lead the future of health.
What would you say are the most sought-after profiles by companies in the sector? And how do you think organisations are changing?
Luca: Professionals who work in health continue to be trained in the same way, and with the same skills, for many years.
I am sure that many of the people who listen to us have the feeling that at any time they can just “stay out of the market”.
This is not true. We are currently facing a new digital revolution. And this is a great opportunity for everyone.
It is true that at the club we frequently receive offers from companies looking for engineers, mathematicians, experts in big data. But you are also looking for many other profiles that can take advantage of this moment to grow. For example, designers, psychologists, experts in patient experience, or growth hacking, among others.
Armando: I would like to add that in Spain we have excellent professionals. Hundreds of thousands of people with very different profiles, and we must work together, but we must do differently.
Something has been doing wrong, and that’s why we need to transform our way of doing things. What is a reality, is that today companies need diverse and inclusive teams.
This may sound very generic, but companies must have the best talent but also have some knowledge in other disciplines.
And this is what we are enabling and driving at Future Health Club.