Recently, we had the opportunity to speak with Jorge González Director of Ticbiomed and Coordinator of eHealth Hub.
eHealth Hub is a new EU-funded initiative that is cross-border and exclusively focused on the digital health vertical. It will provide long-term support to the ecosystem stakeholders and address key challenges facing European SMEs in this space: fine-tuning a business model, securing investments, engaging the demand-side and accelerating commercialization, getting legal and regulatory guidance to develop solutions in compliance with a multi-layer complex framework.
eHealth Hub’s goal is to provide high-quality, vertically-focused and business-oriented services tailored to the needs of European eHealth SMEs and stakeholders, and to secure their continuation after the project end via a sustainable support structure.
How important is an EU wide Digital Health Network?
A network helps to connect faster and generate opportunities among its different members. In the relatively young space of Digital Health, this network aims to speed up SME´s connections and growth at national and European level.
What are the biggest challenges to Digital Health in the EU?
The main challenges are not technological. It is more the lack of mature business models with motivated payers, and how technological solutions are reimbursed. Digital is relatively new in the space and still has to prove that its adoption is cost-effective, impactful and scientifically-sound versus other traditional alternatives.
What emerging technologies will impact EU Digital Health?
Anything related to Analytics (Artificial Intelligence, Big data, Machine Learning) should have, in my opinion, a big impact in the coming years. We also see voice recognition and 3-D printing as getting increasing traction.
Can you introduce eHealth Hub’s mission?
The eHealth Hub initiative helps European digital health startups and SMEs to become more competitive thanks to the services, expertise, and connections that the eHealth HUB team deliver to them.
What advice would you offer digital startups?
Validate your business model as quickly as possible. Focus first on learning, not on commercialization. Arrive at a robust business model that can consistently generate income and scale. For doing that you need to interact a lot with the ecosystem and likely, be ready to change your initial approach after what you learn.
If you could change one thing in Digital Health, what would it be?
I would like the demand-side (eg. healthcare organizations, insurers) to set up clear strategies, defining their proprietary needs that can be solved with digital solutions, and set up mechanisms to not only to pilot them but to fully adopt them if proven successful. Related to this, I would make easier the way digital health solutions can be acquired and reimbursed by the potential customers
What does eHealth Hub offer EU Digital Health SMEs?
eHealth Hub partners deliver free support to improve their business model, commercialization strategy and access to private funding, together with legal and regulatory guidance.
What type of events do you produce?
Mainly matchmaking events, where we bring together different digital health stakeholders (companies, healthcare organizations, investors, experts) interested in making business. Some events are more like a general showroom of technological capabilities, while others are driven by a concrete need of a potential customer. We also produce training events.
What new programs are coming in 2020?
eHealth Hub officially ends on September 2019. However, there are a number of resources, like the eHealth Hub platform (https://platform.ehealth-hub.eu/ ) that is a map of the digital health ecosystem that will remain available. Anyone can leverage this platform to identify potential providers, partners or experts, and get visibility in the ecosystem at no cost.
How can I get involved?
Register in the platform, join our mailing list (https://www.ehealth-hub.eu/stay-tuned/ ) or follow us on our social networks (@EU_eHealth_Hub ) to stay tuned of relevant news and opportunities within the European digital health network.