Events

EUHA’s Innovation Network meets in Barcelona

DATE September 1st, 2022

Members of the Innovation Network launched in June 2022 by the European University Hospital Alliance (EUHA) met at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona on the 1st and 2nd of September. The innovation experts of all EUHA members shared their innovation processes, needs, challenges and goals, and defined the basis of the network’s action plan.

Innovation is a driving force for the improvement of medicine and is essential to meet the challenge of sustainable healthcare provision. Additionally, healthcare innovation is a key part of a strong and globally competitive Europe economy.  Therefore, we believe that innovation is to be considered a core mission for university hospitals next to tertiary care, research, and education. EUHA’s Innovation Network aims to promote the development of innovative solutions, strengthen the innovation culture within our hospitals, and transform EUHA members into sustainable, competitive, and innovative ecosystems that improve the standard of care. As Laia Arnal (Vall d’Hebron Barcelona Hospital Campus), co-coordinator of the network emphasised during the meeting: “The Innovation Network is a unique opportunity for university hospitals to share best practices, knowledge and disruptive initiatives that will impact directly on healthcare services.”

“The Innovation Network is a unique opportunity for university hospitals to share best practices, knowledge and disruptive initiatives that will impact directly on healthcare services.”

Laia Arnal (Vall d’Hebron Barcelona Hospital Campus)

Innovation leaders from all EUHA’s university hospitals met at the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital to define their work plan. The network brings together significant strategic weight, consisting of amongst others directors of Innovation and the heads of the Technology Transfer Offices and Incubators,  from both academic and hospital perspectives. On Thursday, members discussed the different innovation pathways and processes in their respective institutions, highlighting needs, goals, and areas of improvement. Finally, members agreed on the impact of innovation being the foremost factor to consider within innovation procedures, meaning that besides commercialisation, IP concerns and economic return, innovative solutions within EUHA members must truly improve the standard of care for patients.

On Friday, participants decided to concentrate the network’s effort on two areas of innovation: Funding & Valorisation, and Culture & Implementation. To make sure these topics will be properly tackled within the network in the following months, the participants split into two different working groups and started to materialise ideas.

The meeting in Barcelona has enabled the network to prioritise its activities. As the co-coordinator Jeanette Tuval (Karolinska University Hospital) summarises: “EUHA’s Innovation Network has identified two main areas towards which we should work together: Funding & Valorisation, and Implementation & Culture. Together we can come up with the right policies and activities to change innovation culture, receive more funding and implement innovative solution within clinical settings”.

“EUHA’s Innovation Network has identified two main areas towards which we should work together: Funding & Valorisation, and Implementation and Culture.”

Jeanette Tuval (Karolinska University Hospital)

Finally, the Alliance Manager, Lynn Seveke, highlights the cross-cutting importance of the meeting and looks back at two successful days: “I am very happy to see that the Innovation Network has chosen to focus on valorisation and the innovation culture within university hospitals. These are important topics across EUHA. Valorisation allows university hospitals to make the results of research available to patients and society. For example, this would greatly help the EUHA EUCCAT initiative on the sustainable development of cell and gene therapies.”

Additionally, she mentions that ensuring a sustainable workforce is an urgency for EUHA: “EUHA is acting on this and we think innovation must be part of the solution. I am happy the innovation network will be developing best practices on how to support healthcare staff to innovate. It is on the work floor where the best insight lies, but the process of going from a challenge or “unmet need” to actual innovation is something where innovation experts can elevate the healthcare staff.”