These elite organisations are the spearhead for medical research in Europe and the rich Middle East. They are also the places where complex conditions are diagnosed and treated. Increasingly, they are also viewed by nation-states and the EU as the key to valuable world markets in medtech and pharma. And the direction of travel is clear. They are rapidly consolidating to create larger platforms which can create big data sets that can be interrogated by AI and researchers, platforms that will build over decades and cost hundreds of millions of euros.
And yet, and yet. To succeed on this path such entities need two things. The first is clear partner models. The second is the ability to share data. And here Europe falls down. China, the USA and Israel can do these things. Europeans are horribly stymied.
Partnerships with commercial players in pharma and medtech remains a suspect and difficult concept for many of these groups. Who owns the IP? Who puts in what resources? In practice, European research hubs tell us every deal is different and there are no coherent and stable models to fall back on. Larger groups linked to the European University Hospital Alliance are further down the route and the Brits and Nordics are perhaps more advanced in their thinking. But no one has the answers. Fragmentation and division within these entities doesn’t help. A major supplier put it like this to us: “In Europe we face months and years of delay, in China we reach agreement quickly and literally start implementation the next day.”
As for sharing data, these organisations are tearing their hair out with frustration at EU GDPR rules and the general distrust that patients have about sharing data. Yes, the EU has come up with new proposals here in the last few weeks. But they need to be debated and approved and the EU expects them to pass only in 2025 at the earliest.
HBI 2022 looks at how university hospitals and research institutes can best partner in a half-day conference bringing together top speakers from Mass General, Kings Health Partners, and Karolinska. Click here to see more.