Leaders from the health cluster in Colombia met in Cali, where the first Symposium for Innovation in Clinical Excellence was held.
On June 2, Cali served as the host city of the first Symposium for Innovation in Clinical Excellence, a gathering space for international leaders on issues surrounding innovation in the healthcare sector. The event was held at the Valle del Pacífico Event Center.
This symposium was attended by 189 people from over 60 companies and universities involved in medical and healthcare services. Different speakers from the academic program put the spotlight on patients as the center of discussion, which helped the industry to expand its vision of the opportunity for improvement it has.
In 2015, the participating companies of the Cluster Initiative for Clinical Excellence developed an action plan to identify the areas to work on in the coming years that would strengthen their competitiveness. The strategic focus of the Action Plan gives priority to developing and marketing knowledge-based products and services.
“The design of the Symposium for Innovation was based on this strategy. It was made with the objective of getting companies and academia to work together on innovative processes that will help identify opportunities to improve the knowledge that already exists in the region,” explains Esteban Piedrahíta, President of the Cali Chamber of Commerce.
Director of the Program for Productive Transformation of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Claudia Bedoya, states, “It is important for us to support the companies that are part of this cluster, whether they are from the healthcare sector, are involved in tourism, or related activities. We want our clinical excellence to be recognized in other markets and internationally, which is why it is important for these meetings to happen.”
At the forefront
- Working towards telemedicine: Luis Fernando Cifuentes, Director of Boston Scientific for the Andean region, explains how it is important to determine what healthcare focus should directly reach the patient. He emphasizes that medicine is becoming digitalized throughout the world through apps, web pages and telemedicine. “We want to improve the health of patients and want better treatment and prevention options for disease. Today we have the tools that can change the way patients are treated.” One of his ideas is to create a system similar to that of a credit reporting agency; where with just the number of your government-issued ID, you can have virtual access to your medical history, which would allow you to be treated in places with less support.
- A greater use of technology: At the event, software developer Andrés Zuluaga presented on his experience with the company Clearview App, which creates tools for improving patients’ lifestyles and healthcare provision. He presented on a few developments occurring with catheter systems used for diagnosing heart disease that are available to patients throughout the world, including Colombia. Positive results have also been seen from other patents that make it possible to treat other diseases, such as: tools for diagnosing cancer, and apps for personalized medicine to be used in the areas of hematology, anemia or HIV. Creating laboratories to make women’s annual exams more automatic with more accurate and timely results may also be possible in the near future.
- Health tourism: The last census from the Program for Productive Transformation of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism showed two significant figures from 2014: US $145 million dollars entered the country and 41,000 patients from the United States, Spain, Mexico and United Kingdom were treated here. Some of the most highly sought medical interventions were rhinoplasties (plastic surgery of the nose), augmentation mammoplasties (breast enlargement), liposuction and dental services. “Colombia is a symbol of high quality medicine. The country must take advantage of how it has been recognized for its good treatment for cancer, cosmetic surgery and other major surgeries. In order for innovation to occur, the government, academic institutions and hospitals must work together,” Claudia Bedoya states.